Purpose: Identify psychosocial and socio-demographic factors (measured prior to treatment) that were associated with post-treatment self-perceived pain and disability and two secondary outcomes: psychological distress, and return to work in patients undergoing multidisciplinary rehabilitation for chronic whiplash associated disorders (WAD).
Method: Interviews were conducted with 28 patients with chronic WAD at entry to and completion of an intensive rehabilitation program, and a telephone interview was carried out three months later. Participants completed pain and disability, and psychological distress questionnaires, at baseline and at both follow-ups. They also completed psychosocial questionnaires and provided socio-demographic information. The effect of each of the independent variables on the outcomes was first evaluated by simple regressions, and then subsequently by multiple regression analysis.
Results: Higher baseline pain and disability predicted higher pain and disability at both follow-ups (p < 0.001), and higher psychological distress at program completion (p = 0.003). Younger age (p = 0.028) and higher baseline psychological distress (p = 0.002) were associated with higher psychological distress three months post-rehabilitation. Greater social support at work was prognostic of return to work at program completion (p = 0.04).
Conclusions: Baseline pain and disability was the only factor that affected pain and disability post-rehabilitation. Psychosocial factors played a role in the prognosis of psychological distress and return to work.