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Keywords:

  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis;
  • Pain;
  • Coping;
  • Beliefs

Abstract

Objective

To examine whether pain-specific beliefs and coping strategies of patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) independently predict their reported pain, while controlling for relevant demographic variables, disease activity, and parent-rated disability. To compare use of pain-coping strategies and pain-related beliefs of a selected subgroup of patients with high pain and low disease activity (high pain group) with the remaining patients.

Methods

Children with JIA (n = 56) completed the Pain Coping Questionnaire, a revised version of the Survey of Pain Attitudes, and a 3-week pain diary. The parents completed the Childhood Health Assessment Questionnaire (CHAQ). Second order principal component analyses were conducted in order to reduce the number of independent variables. Regression analyses of the dependent measure were performed. The use of coping strategies and health beliefs were compared using t-tests for independent samples. Pearson's correlation coefficients were calculated to examine the direct associations between each individual coping and belief scale, and the pain measure.

Results

Only the CHAQ and the cognitive belief composite factor score made statistically significant contribution to the prediction of pain after controlling for other variables. Significant differences were found between the scores of high pain patients and the rest of the group for the health belief subscale of disability (mean ± SD 2.0 ± 0.6 and 1.2 ± 0.7, respectively), and for the health belief subscale of harm (mean ± SD 2.7 ± 0.6 and 1.8 ± 0.7, respectively). Significant correlations were obtained between the pain measure and the pain-coping subscale of catastrophizing, the pain belief subscales of disability, harm, solicitude (inverse), control, and medical cure.

Conclusion

These results support a model of pain experience in patients with JIA where psychological factors are strongly influential. It may be efficient to focus behavioral interventions on a subgroup of children where the pain experience seems to be in discordance with the disease activity.