Perspectives of chronic pain: an evaluative comparison of restrictive and comprehensive models

Psychol Bull. 1995 Sep;118(2):238-47. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.118.2.238.


The authors compare theoretical perspectives of chronic pain using a restrictive comprehensive categorization. Four of the perspectives (mind-body dualism, psychological, radical operant--behavioral, and radical cognitive) are categorized as restrictive. The other 4 perspectives (International Association for the Study of Pain, gate control, nonradical operant--behavioral, and cognitive-behavioral) that incorporate multiple facets are categorized as comprehensive. On the basis of empirical support, practical application, and issues concerning potential research design problems, the restrictive perspectives could be rejected for not providing a model in which chronic pain can be thoroughly investigated. The comprehensive perspectives, however, demonstrate greater potential for serving that role. Nonetheless, the need for additional theory development by the comprehensive perspectives is noted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Psychophysiology