Psychological features and coping styles in patients with chronic pain

Authors


Eisuke Matsushima, MD, PhD, Section of Liaison Psychiatry and Palliative Medicine, Graduate School of Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan. Email: em.lppm@tmd.ac.jp

Abstract

Aims:  It is said that psychological factors play a crucial role in the development, continuation or amplification of chronic pain. The purpose of the present study was to examine psychological features and coping styles related to chronic pain.

Methods:  Sixty-three patients with persistent pain over 3 months (average age of 59.3 years; 22 men and 41 women) were recruited as subjects from December 2005 to March 2007. As for chronic pain, the duration of pain and the intensity of pain, applied using the Visual Analogue Scale, were evaluated in each patient. In addition, their psychological features were examined with the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and their coping styles were examined using the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS).

Results:  The duration of pain was not significantly correlated with values of the POMS or CISS. The intensity of pain according to the Visual Analogue Scale was significantly correlated with the tension–anxiety, anger–hostility and fatigue scales of the POMS. Also, the intensity of pain showed negative correlations with the avoidance-oriented coping scale of the CISS.

Conclusions:  Understanding psychological features and coping styles are critical when we determine the proper treatment for chronic pain.

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