Thursday, 16 October 2014

JUST PUBLISHED: Resilience and Responses to Persistent Pain

The concept of resilience is of considerable interest in clinical practice.  The resilient person shows relatively speedy recovery from a disturbance and an ability to resume their former work practices, habits and normal life.  In addition, they are able to maintain that recovery over the long-term.

The maintenance of recovery is of particular interest in patients suffering from chronic pain, since the presence of persistent pain leads to a raft of behavioural and cognitive changes all aimed at coping with the pain.  And since the pain is persistent, the adaptations are chronic, be they beneficial or not.

In a recently published study, Christie Mason, Toby Newton-John and Mick Hunter interviewed 101 patients attending a pain clinic and administered a range of self-report and assessment scales.  The scales covered areas of perceived pain intensity; attitudes to the pain; functional disability; mental health and wellbeing and available social support, as well as measures of resilience and self-reliance.

The results showed clear association between greater pain intensity and poor coping scores.  The measures of coping (scores showing fear of movement and of re-injury, evidence of catastrophising, depression and disability) were negatively associated with measures of resilience and self-efficacy.  Importantly, for this group, there was a significant positive relationship between resilience and the likelihood of the patient attending work.  However, the very strong relationship between pain intensity and depression, which explained much of the variance in a hierarchical regression of the variables, illustrates the difficulties faced by clinicians in treating these patients.

For further information, please see the following article:

Newton-John TR, Mason C, & Hunter M (2014). The role of resilience in adjustment and coping with chronic pain. Rehabilitation psychology, 59 (3), 360-5 PMID: 25019306

***Our hearty congratulations go to Christie Mason on her recent graduation with a Clinical Doctorate.***