Cognitions, coping, and social environment predict adjustment to pain in spinal cord injury

J Pain. 2007 Sep;8(9):718-29. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2007.05.006. Epub 2007 Jul 5.


The current study examined the utility of a biopsychosocial model of chronic pain, and the associations between specific pain-related beliefs, coping, and social support and both mental health and pain interference, in persons with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and pain. A total of 157 patients completed surveys assessing physical and psychological functioning, as well as psychosocial, demographic, and injury-related variables. Greater catastrophizing and pain-related beliefs (eg, the belief that pain signals damage) were related with increased pain interference and poorer mental health, while coping styles (eg, resting, asking for assistance) were related only with pain interference. Alternatively, greater perceived social support was related with better mental health. The findings are consistent with a biopsychosocial model, implicating the need to consider the impact of process and clinical variables on adjustment to chronic pain in persons with SCI.

Perspective: This article identifies several psychosocial variables, including coping, catastrophizing, pain-related beliefs, and social support that are related to adjustment in persons with SCI and pain. These results have implications for interventions designed to treat pain interference in persons with SCI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / etiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Chronic Disease / psychology
  • Culture
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement / psychology
  • Pain, Intractable / etiology*
  • Pain, Intractable / psychology*
  • Psychology / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychology / trends*
  • Social Support*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires