Catastrophizing, pain, and disability in patients with soft-tissue injuries

Pain. 1998 Sep;77(3):253-260. doi: 10.1016/S0304-3959(98)00097-9.


The present study examined the role of catastrophizing in predicting levels of pain and disability in a sample of individuals who had sustained soft-tissue injuries to the neck, shoulders or back following work or motor vehicle accidents. Participants were 86 (27 men, 59 women) consecutive referrals to the Atlantic Pain Clinic, a multidisciplinary treatment centre for the management of persistent pain disorders. Findings revealed that catastrophizing, measured by the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS; Sullivan, M.J.L. et al., Psychol. Assess., 7 (1995) 524-532) was significantly correlated with patients' reported pain intensity, perceived disability and employment status. The results of a regression analysis further showed that catastrophizing contributed to the prediction of disability over and above the variance accounted for by pain intensity. In addition, catastrophizing was associated with disability independent of the levels of depression and anxiety. The rumination subscale of the PCS was the strongest predictor of pain and disability. Theoretical and clinical implications of the findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Back Injuries / complications
  • Back Injuries / psychology
  • Back Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Depression / etiology
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Injuries / complications
  • Neck Injuries / psychology
  • Neck Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Regression Analysis
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / complications
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / psychology*
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / rehabilitation*