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, 52 (3), 177-88

The Role of Catastrophizing in Recent Onset Tinnitus: Its Nature and Association With Tinnitus Distress and Medical Utilization

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The Role of Catastrophizing in Recent Onset Tinnitus: Its Nature and Association With Tinnitus Distress and Medical Utilization

Cornelia Weise et al. Int J Audiol.

Abstract

Objective: Persistent tinnitus affects 10 to 15% of adults. Little is understood about why only a small percentage of patients become severely affected. Catastrophic thinking has been suggested as one potentially relevant factor that might influence a patient's coping behavior, and thus tinnitus habituation. The current study investigates the concept of tinnitus catastrophizing and its relation with distress and medical utilization in recent onset tinnitus.

Design: Participants were administered a survey assessing catastrophizing, tinnitus distress, medical utilization, coping, and mood disturbance. Regression analyses investigated the nature of tinnitus catastrophizing and its contributions to distress and health care utilization.

Study sample: 278 subjects with tinnitus for less than six months were recruited from Ear-Nose-Throat units, through the internet, and newspaper articles.

Results: Controlling for background variables, high subjective tinnitus loudness, low behavioral coping, and depressive symptoms were significantly associated with tinnitus catastrophizing. Furthermore, greater tinnitus catastrophizing was related to higher distress and more frequent medical visits.

Conclusions: Tinnitus catastrophizing appears to be pivotal already at an early stage of tinnitus experience. Addressing catastrophizing by specific prevention and intervention programs might reduce the development of distress and medical utilization in the long term. Longitudinal studies are required to clarify cause-effect relations.

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