Coping responses as predictors of psychosocial functioning amongst individuals suffering from chronic pain
Background: Research on coping with chronic pain has focused on exploring the impact of different coping responses on various aspects of living with chronic pain. The aim of this study is to determine whether certain coping responses can be identified as predictors of the level of pain intensity reported by the chronic pain patient, as well as predictors of these individuals’ psychosocial functioning.
Methods: One hundred and seventy-two individuals suffering from chronic pain completed both the West Haven-Yale Multidimensional Pain Inventory and the Coping Responses Inventory – Adult Form. The prevalence of the use of Avoidance and Approach Coping, and the relationship between these responses and psychosocial functioning (Pain Severity, Interference, Support, Life Control, and Affective Distress) were explored. Hierarchical regression analyses were performed in order to determine the amount of variance explained by the specific predictor variables.
Results: The findings of this research suggest that coping responses do impact upon the psychosocial functioning of individuals with chronic pain, and more specifically, on the level of interference, severity of pain, perceived amount of control over life and the amount of emotional distress experienced by these patients.
Conclusion: The outcomes of this study appear to contradict the general consensus in literature that regards Approach Coping responses as being associated with decreased pain severity and improved psychosocial functioning. The manner in which specific components of each type of coping response relates to specific aspects of psychosocial functioning was
investigated; an aspect that was found to be lacking in most research regarding coping and chronic pain.
Keywords: chronic pain; psychosocial functioning; pain severity; affective distress; avoidance coping; approach coping