Pain locus of control scores in chronic pain patients and medical clinic patients with and without pain

Clin J Pain. 1993 Dec;9(4):242-7. doi: 10.1097/00002508-199312000-00004.


Objective: We investigated the association between treatment setting and pain control attributions as assessed by the Pain Locus of Control Scale (PLOC).

Design: Nonrandomized consecutive samples.

Patients and setting: The patient groups included an outpatient pain clinic sample of chronic pain patients (n = 48), a group of medical clinic outpatients with chronic pain (n = 28), and a group of medical clinic outpatients without current pain (n = 22). Medical clinic patients without current pain were asked to reply to the PLOC items in terms of their usual response when experiencing pain.

Results and conclusions: Results indicated that pain clinic patients were the least likely of the three groups to report predictable control of their pain as reflected by their significantly lower "powerful other" and higher "chance" dimension scores. Medical clinic patients without pain reported greater personal control of pain than the other two groups as evidenced by their higher "internality" dimension score and lower "chance" dimension score. Results indicate that pain control appraisals differ among patients with chronic pain and illness as a function of the treatment setting and suggest that differences in cognitive appraisal can affect treatment efficacy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / psychology*