Incorporating Family Function into Chronic Pain Disability: The Role of Catastrophizing

Fatemeh Akbari, Mohsen Dehghani, Ali Khatibi, Tine Vervoort

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    Background. Observers' responses to pain are recently investigated to more comprehensively explain chronic pain (CP) and disability. However, the role of family context, defined as interference in roles, communication, and problem-solving, and how (i.e., through which mechanisms) these variables contribute to CP related disability have yet to be examined. Objectives. The aim of the present study is to examine family context in relationship to pain catastrophizing, fear of movement, and depression and its role in understanding CP disability. Three different models were examined. Methods. A total sample of 142 patients with musculoskeletal chronic pain was recruited to examine the role of fear of movement, pain intensity, pain catastrophizing, and depression in relationship to family functioning as predictors of disability. Results. Findings indicated that two models showed acceptable fit, but one of them revealed superior fit indices. Results of the model with superior fit indices indicated that family dysfunction may contribute to catastrophic thinking, which, in turn, contributes to patients' disability through increasing fear of movement and depression. Discussion. The current study provides further support for the notion that the impact of emotional and cognitive variables upon CP-related disability can be better understood when we consider the social context of pain patients and family function in particular.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number6838596
    Number of pages10
    JournalPain research & management
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Adult
    • Catastrophization/psychology
    • Chronic Pain/complications
    • Depression/etiology
    • Disability Evaluation
    • Disabled Persons/psychology
    • Family/psychology
    • Fear/psychology
    • Female
    • Humans
    • Male
    • Middle Aged
    • Pain Measurement
    • Psychometrics
    • Regression Analysis
    • Surveys and Questionnaires
    • Young Adult

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