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Annu Rev Psychol. 2005;56:601-30.

Psychological approaches to understanding and treating disease-related pain.

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  • 1Duke University Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, Durham, NC 27705, USA.


Psychologists are increasingly involved in the assessment and treatment of disease-related pain such as pain secondary to arthritis or cancer. This review is divided into four sections. In the first section, we provide a conceptual background on this area that discusses the limitations of the biomedical model of disease-related pain and traces the evolution of psychosocial theories of pain. In the second section, we discuss special issues and challenges involved in working with persons having disease-related pain, including the reluctance of some persons to report pain and to become involved in psychological treatments for pain. Section three provides an overview of psychosocial research conducted on arthritis pain and cancer pain that addresses both psychosocial factors related to pain and psychosocial interventions for pain management. In the final section, we describe important future directions, including strategies for disseminating psychosocial treatments and disparities in pain management.

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