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Cognitive Factors Affect Acceptance of Chronic Pain

Active engagement and pain willingness associated with greater acceptance

MONDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with chronic pain, those with high levels of active engagement are less likely to have rumination and feelings of helplessness, anxiety and depression than those with lower levels, and mood and dysfunctional thoughts can predict active engagement, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Pain Society in San Antonio, Texas.

Nomita Sonty, Ph.D., of Columbia University in New York City, and a colleague studied 31 patients and assessed their acceptance (active engagement, pain willingness), mood (depression, anxiety), dysfunctional attitudes and thoughts (catastrophization) and pain-related disability.

The researchers found no significant differences in patients when they divided them into high- and low-acceptance groups based on the total Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire. However, when they divided patients into groups based on active engagement and pain willingness, they found that high active engagement patients reported less rumination, helplessness, anxiety, depression and self-control compared to their low counterparts. They also found that patients in the high pain willingness group reported less depression and fear of physical activities than their low counterparts.

Overall, "significantly different profiles among those who score high and low on the two acceptance subscales is helpful in understanding what may facilitate versus inhibit acceptance in patients with chronic pain," the authors conclude.


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