Active or passive pain coping strategies in hip and knee osteoarthritis? results of a national survey of 4,719 patients in a primary care setting




To study pain coping strategies in patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA), and to assess the psychometric qualities of the French version of the Pain Coping Inventory (PCI).


We conducted a national, cross-sectional survey in a primary care setting in France. A total of 1,811 general practitioners included 5,324 patients with hip and knee OA who completed several questionnaires, including the PCI, which assesses ability to cope with pain.


The records of 4,719 (86.4%) patients were analyzed (knee 2,781; hip 1,553; hip and knee 385). Supporting the structure of the original questionnaire, we found that the 33 PCI questionnaire items could be grouped into 3 domains defining active coping strategies and 3 defining passive coping strategies. Acceptable convergent validity was found for the PCI (Cronbach's alpha coefficient for each domain >0.68). Coping strategy scores were significantly higher in patients with both knee and hip involvement (mean ± SD 2.3 ± 0.4) than for patients with OA at 1 site (mean ± SD 2.1 ± 0.4), and in women compared with men (P < 0.001). The use of passive pain coping strategies increased with OA duration, and was greater in older and overweight patients, in patients with no current physical activity or major impairment, in retired and nonworking patients, and in patients who were not married, and to a lesser extent in patients with higher pain intensity. Compared with previous data, patients with OA demonstrated lower active and higher passive strategies than patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic painful conditions.


The PCI has good structural validity and is highly suitable for analyzing active and passive pain coping strategies in OA. In OA, active and passive coping strategies differ significantly as a function of age, body mass index, OA involvement, professional and marital status, sport activities, and OA duration, with pain intensity having a weaker effect.