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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 41 Number 1, January/February 2004
Pages 75 — 88


Abstract - Predicting consistency of pain over a 10-year period in persons with spinal cord injury

Diana H. Rintala, PhD; Karen A. Hart, PhD; Michael M. Priebe, MD

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, Houston, TX; Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX;
The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR), Houston, TX; VA North Texas Health Care System, Dallas, TX;
University of Texas Southwest Medical Center, Dallas, TX
Abstract — This longitudinal study was designed to test the hypothesis that persons who consistently report pain at three (women) or four (men) measurement points across 10 years (1988 to 1998) are different both physically and psychologically from those who inconsistently or never report pain. Participants were 96 persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) living in the community who participated at every measurement point. Measures included consistency of reports of pain (i.e., reported having had problems with pain in the 12 months prior to all, some, or no measurement points); demographic and injury-related data; and measures of physical and psychological health, function, and social support. Of the 96 participants, approximately half of the men and three-fourths of the women consistently reported pain at each point. Phase 1 predictors of the consistency of pain reports for men were being less impaired, being more independent, experiencing more stress, and receiving less social support. Women consistently reporting pain had more stress at Phase 1 than women inconsistently reporting pain. Persons with SCI at risk for chronic pain should be identified and referred to a multidisciplinary pain management program.
Key words: chronic pain, longitudinal studies, spinal cord injuries.

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