Relation of cognitive coping and catastrophizing to acute pain and analgesic use following breast cancer surgery

J Behav Med. 1996 Feb;19(1):17-29. doi: 10.1007/BF01858172.


This study investigated the relation of cognitive coping and catastrophizing to acute postoperative pain and analgesic use. Fifty-nine women who had just undergone breast cancer surgery rated their pain on 3 consecutive days and completed a self-report measure of cognitive coping and catastrophizing prior to hospital discharge. Analgesic use over the 3-day period was tabulated from pharmacy records. Based on prior research, it was hypothesized that increased catastrophizing and decreased use of cognitive coping strategies would be associated with greater pain and analgesic use. Results partially confirmed these hypotheses. Catastrophizing, but not cognitive coping, was associated with individual differences in pain intensity and analgesic use. Additional analyses indicated that age was a significant predictor of both catastrophizing and postoperative pain. Specifically, younger patients were more likely to catastrophize and to report increased postoperative pain. Theoretical and clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imagination
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Pain, Postoperative / psychology*


  • Analgesics