Objective: To examine the association between pain-coping strategies and adjustment to cerebral palsy (CP)-related pain.
Design: Longitudinal study of 48 adults with CP-related chronic pain. Study participants were interviewed on two occasions, separated by 6 months, to assess pain-coping strategies used and two domains of adjustment to chronic pain: depression and pain interference.
Results: Changes in coping strategy use were associated with changes in functioning. Specifically, decreased use of catastrophizing and rest, and increased use of task persistence were associated with decreases in depression over a 6-month period. Increased use of task persistence was also associated with decreases in pain interference.
Conclusion: Changes in pain-coping strategies over time are associated with changes in functioning in persons with CP-related pain, consistent with biopsychosocial models of chronic pain. Some coping strategies (e.g., catastrophizing, task persistence), however, appear to be more closely linked to functioning than others. These results provide preliminary empiric guidance for the coping strategies that may be most fruitfully targeted in the treatment of CP-related pain.