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Volume 46 Number 1, 2009
   Pages 57 — 68

Abstract - Psychological characteristics of people with spinal cord injury-related persisting pain referred to a tertiary pain management center

Kathryn Nicholson Perry, PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons);1-3* Michael K. Nicholas, PhD, MPsychol, MSc, BSc (Hons);1 James Middleton, MBBS, PhD, FAFRM (RACP);2-3 Philip Siddall, MBBS, MM (Pain Mgt), PhD, FFPMANZCA1

1The University of Sydney Pain Management and Research Centre, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia; 2Rehabilitation Studies Unit, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; 3New South Wales Statewide Spinal Cord Injury Service, Royal Rehabilitation Centre Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Abstract — This study examines the psychological characteristics of a cohort of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) and persisting pain referred to a tertiary pain management center. Forty-five individuals completed measures of pain, mood, disability, and both pain- and SCI-related psychological variables such as self-efficacy and catastrophizing. Compared with a general pain clinic population attending the same tertiary pain management center (n = 5,941), the sample was found to have lower pain intensity, comparable pain catastrophizing levels, and less activity interference due to pain. In contrast, those with SCI pain reported poorer mood. Pain catastrophizing was associated with anxiety, depression, and activity interference due to pain; pain self-efficacy was close to being significantly associated with these variables also. SCI acceptance and self-efficacy were also associated with some of these variables. These findings suggest that the biopsychosocial model of pain is applicable in this sample and that further treatment benefits could be obtained through use of interventions targeting psychological and social variables within this model.

Key words: acceptance, anxiety, catastrophizing, depression, disability, pain, pharmacotherapy, rehabilitation, self-efficacy, spinal cord injury, treatment.

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