Background and purpose: Previous research has highlighted the importance of cognitive appraisal processes in determining the nature and effectiveness of coping with chronic pain. Two of the key variables implicated in appraisal of pain are catastrophizing and perceived injustice, which exacerbate the severity of pain-related distress and increase the risk of long-term disability through maladaptive behavioural responses. However, to date, the influences of these phenomena have not been examined concurrently, nor have they been related specifically to quality of life measures, such as life satisfaction.
Methods: Using data from an online survey of 330 individuals with chronic pain, structural path modelling techniques were used to examine the independent effects of pain catastrophizing, perceived injustice, and average pain intensity on life satisfaction. Two potential mediators of these relationships were examined: depressive symptoms and pain-related interference.
Results: Results indicated that depressive symptoms fully mediated the relationship between pain catastrophizing and life satisfaction, and pain interference fully mediated the relationship between pain intensity and life satisfaction. Both depressive symptoms and pain interference were found to significantly mediate the relationship between perceived injustice and life satisfaction, but perceived injustice continued to demonstrate a significant and negative relationship with life satisfaction, above and beyond the other study variables.
Conclusions: The current findings highlight the distinct affective and behavioural mediators of pain and maladaptive cognitive appraisal processes in chronic pain, and highlight their importance in both perceptions of pain-related interference and longer-term quality of life.
Keywords: Depression; Life satisfaction; Pain catastrophizing; Pain interference; Perceived injustice.
Copyright © 2017 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.