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Coping strategies, health locus of control, pain, and physical functioning of chronic pain patients

1 May 1991


Individuals adopt different types of coping strategies to deal with various problems (stressors) of life. This study investigated the relationship between coping strategies, health locus of control, physical function, and pain level in individuals with chronic pain. Subjects, who were chronic pain patients from the Northwest Pain Center in Portland, Oregon, were administered the: 1) Health Locus of Control Scale, 2) Coping Strategies Questionnaires, 3) Pain Scale and 4) the Functional Capacity Evaluation before and after a three week treatment period. Following treatment there was a significant increase in function, perceived effectiveness of coping with pain, and the use of cognitive coping and suppression, diverting attention, and activity level (p < 0.05). There was a significant decrease in pain and in the use of helplessness coping methods (p < 0.05). Correlational analysis revealed that an increase in physical function was significantly related to increased use of cognitive coping and suppression (r=0.84) and decreased use of helplessness coping strategies (r=0.72). Following treatment, the only statistically significant correlations were found between pain and physical function (r=0.68) and pain and perceived effectiveness (r=0.75).


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