Pain catastrophizing and pain coping among methadone-maintained patients

Pain Med. 2011 Jan;12(1):79-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2010.01002.x. Epub 2010 Nov 18.


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the association of pain catastrophizing and pain coping strategies with characteristic pain intensity (an average of worst, least, and typical pain intensity in the past week) and recent pain-related disability (an average of three measures of past week pain interference) in opioid-dependent patients enrolled in a methadone maintenance treatment program (MMTP) who reported recent pain.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Patients: One hundred and eight MMTP patients who reported recent pain.

Measures: Participants completed measures of demographics, pain status (i.e., "chronic severe pain" [pain lasting at least 6 months with at least moderate pain intensity or significant pain interference in the past week] vs "some pain" [pain in the past week not meeting the threshold of chronic severe pain]), characteristic pain intensity, recent pain-related disability, somatization, depression, catastrophizing, and pain coping strategies.

Results: Catastrophizing explained a significant proportion of the variance in characteristic pain intensity (14%) and recent pain-related disability (11%) after controlling for demographics, pain status, somatization, and depression. Mirroring the findings of studies of non-opioid-dependent chronic pain patients, greater catastrophizing was associated with greater pain intensity and increases in recent pain-related disability. On average, the "chronic severe pain" group reported higher levels of catastrophizing than the "some pain" group.

Conclusion: Consistent with studies of patients with chronic pain who are not opioid dependent, our findings emphasize the importance of assessing and addressing catastrophizing in MMTP patients with pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Catastrophization / psychology*
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / psychology
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methadone / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment / psychology*
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology
  • Young Adult


  • Methadone