Pain catastrophizing is one of the most powerful predictors of poor outcomes in youth and adults with pain; however, little is known about differential effects of pain catastrophizing on outcomes as a function of age. The current study examined the predictive value of pain catastrophizing on pain interference and pain intensity across children, adolescents, and 2 age groups of young adults with chronic pain. Cross-sectional data are presented from the adult and pediatric Collaborative Health Outcomes Information Registry (CHOIR), including measures of pain catastrophizing, pain intensity, pain interference, and emotional distress from 1,028 individuals with chronic pain. Results revealed that age moderated the relation between pain catastrophizing and pain interference, with the strength of these effects declining with age. The effect of pain catastrophizing on pain interference was strongest in adolescents and relatively weak in all 3 other groups. Emotional distress was the strongest predictor of pain interference for children, whereas pain intensity was the strongest predictor for both adult groups. Pain catastrophizing was found to predict pain intensity and, although age was a significant moderator, statistical findings were weak. Developmental considerations and clinical implications regarding the utility of the construct of pain catastrophizing across age groups are discussed.
Perspective: This article explores differences in pain catastrophizing as predictors of pain interference and pain intensity across cohorts of children, adolescents, and 2 age groups of young adults. This work may stimulate further research on chronic pain from a developmental perceptive and inform developmentally tailored treatment interventions that target catastrophizing, emotional distress, and pain intensity.
Keywords: Collaborative Health Outcomes Information Registry (CHOIR); Developmental; adolescents; catastrophizing; chronic pain; pain interference.
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