Psychosocial and socio-demographic factors associated with outcomes for patients undergoing rehabilitation for chronic whiplash associated disorders: a pilot study

Disabil Rehabil. 2008;30(25):1947-55. doi: 10.1080/09638280701791245.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Neck Pain / etiology
  • Neck Pain / rehabilitation
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Whiplash Injuries / complications
  • Whiplash Injuries / psychology*
  • Whiplash Injuries / rehabilitation*