Psychosocial factors and adjustment to chronic pain in spinal cord injury: Replication and cross-validation

Ivan R. Molton, Brenda L. Stoelb, Mark P. Jensen, Dawn M. Ehde, Katherine A. Raichle, Diana D. Cardenas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Recent studies have documented the importance of psychological factors in the experience of chronic pain in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). The current study sought to replicate and extend previous work demonstrating associations among specific pain-related beliefs, coping, mental health, and pain outcomes in persons with SCI. A return-by-mail survey assessing psychological functioning and pain was completed by 130 individuals with SCI. Measures included short forms of the Survey of Pain Attitudes and the Chronic Pain Coping Inventory. After factor analysis, multiple regression was used to predict pain outcomes (psychological functioning and pain interference) after controlling for pain intensity. Results indicated that psychological factors, particularly beliefs about pain (including catastrophizing) and pain-related coping strategies (including passive coping), were significant predictors of pain outcomes and accounted for 21% to 25% of unique variance. Zero-order correlations suggested that the specific variables most closely associated with negative pain outcomes were perception of oneself as disabled, perceptions of low control over pain, and tendency to catastrophize. In general, negative attributions and coping were stronger predictors of pain adjustment than were positive ones. Results highlight the importance of psychological factors in understanding chronic pain in persons with SCI and provide further support for the biopsychosocial model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-42
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of rehabilitation research and development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Adjustment
  • Attributions
  • Biopsychosocial model
  • Catastrophizing
  • Chronic pain
  • Coping
  • CPCI
  • Pain interference
  • Rehabilitation
  • SOPA
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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