Cognitions, coping and social environment predict adjustment to phantom limb pain

Pain. 2002 Jan;95(1-2):133-42. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3959(01)00390-6.


Biopsychosocial models of chronic pain hypothesize a role for psychological and environmental factors in adjustment to chronic pain. To test the utility of such models for understanding phantom limb pain, 61 persons with recent amputations were administered measures of average phantom limb pain intensity, pain interference, depression, pain coping use, pain cognitions and appraisals, and social environmental variables 1 month post-amputation, and the measures of pain intensity, pain interference, and depression again 5 months later. Multiple regression analyses showed that the psychosocial predictors made a statistically significant contribution to the concurrent prediction of average phantom limb pain, pain interference, and depression at the initial assessment, and a significant contribution to the prediction of subsequent change in pain interference and depression over the course of 5 months. The results support the utility of studying phantom limb pain from a biopsychosocial perspective, and identify specific biopsychosocial factors (e.g., catastrophizing cognitions, social support, solicitous responses from family members, and resting as a coping response) that may play an important role in adjustment to phantom limb pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phantom Limb / psychology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Support