The role of resilience in adjustment and coping with chronic pain

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Rehabilitation Psychology, 2014, 59 (3), pp. 360 - 365
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Purpose: In clinical practice, it is often noted that some individuals struggle with chronic pain, while others find effective means to cope. The purpose of this study was to better understand how resilience fits into coping with persistent pain problems. Of interest was whether measures of resilience add to the prediction of adjustment to chronic pain over and above measures of pain coping as typically used with this patient group. Method: Individuals (N = 101) with chronic pain who attended an initial assessment at a pain clinic completed self-report measures of resilience and coping. Pain related outcome data were also collected. Results: Bivariate correlations indicated that higher resilience was associated with significantly less fear avoidance, less pain-related disability, and lower reported pain intensity. Consistent with theoretical propositions, bivariate analyses also indicated that more resilient individuals with chronic pain reported better social support, and were more likely to be working. Higher resilience was also positively correlated with greater pain self-efficacy. However, when hierarchical regression analyses were performed, resilience did not add significantly to the prediction of depression scores and disability scores, over and above the contribution made by existing measures of pain coping. Conclusion: These findings suggest that, although the construct of resilience appears to have important relationships with various dimensions of chronic pain, as currently operationalized, it does not add significantly to the understanding of chronic-pain adjustment. Rather than abandoning the resilience construct, our findings suggest that resilience as applied to the problem of chronic pain may require a refinement in measurement with this population. © 2014 American Psychological Association.
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