Dimensions of pain-related cognitive coping: cross-validation of the factor structure of the Coping Strategy Questionnaire

Pain. 1990 Nov;43(2):195-204. doi: 10.1016/0304-3959(90)91073-R.


Previous research has demonstrated a relationship between cognitive pain coping activity and adjustment in pain patients. The empirically derived dimensions of coping activity, as measured by scales from the Coping Strategy Questionnaire (CSQ), however, have varied across investigations. The purpose of this investigation was to determine both the content and number of dimensions of the CSQ and to explore the potential moderating influence that sociodemographic and patient history variables may have on the latent structure of the CSQ. A total of 620 patients from 5 different chronic pain patient samples were used to assess the generalizability of the dimensions across samples. Confirmatory factor analytic procedures identified a 3-factor solution in most of the samples that was robust across various demographic characteristics. Two factors appeared particularly robust: one reflected conscious use of cognitive coping strategies (with high loadings on ignoring pain and coping self-statements) and another reflected self-efficacy beliefs concerning pain (with high loadings on ability to control and decrease pain). A third factor, which was somewhat less stable, appeared to reflect avoidance of pain by attention to non-pain-related mental activity (with high loadings on diverting attention and praying and hoping). Scales reflecting catastrophizing cognitions and behavioral coping strategies did not consistently load on the above dimensions. Issues concerning the conceptualization and measurement of pain-related cognitive coping dimensions are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Patient Participation
  • Problem Solving
  • Surveys and Questionnaires