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Pain. 2007 May;129(1-2):185-94. Epub 2007 Mar 1.

Helplessness and loss as mediators between pain and depressive symptoms in fibromyalgia.

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  • 1Helix Clinical Research, Inc., La Mesa, 9311 Mesa Vista Ave., La Mesa, CA 91941, USA.


This study evaluated the contribution of condition-specific helplessness and loss to depression in fibromyalgia (FM). Two models were tested. The first model examined whether loss, measured by the West Haven-Yale Multidimensional Pain Inventory (WHYMPI) Interference Scale, would mediate the relationship between disability and depression. The second model determined whether condition-specific helplessness and loss would mediate the relationship between pain and depression with disability controlled. Eighty patients with confirmed diagnoses of FM were recruited throughout Southern California from general medical clinics, newspaper advertisements, and rheumatology practices. The study design was cross-sectional, using self-report, observational, and interview measures. A composite measure of depression was adopted, consisting of the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted using a path analytic framework to examine each model. In Model 1, loss fully mediated the relationship between disability and depression. In Model 2, condition-specific helplessness mediated the relationship between pain and depression, but the contribution of loss was not significant. The findings confirm the importance of helplessness and demonstrate that the cognitive meaning of having FM plays a more central role in predicting depressive symptomatology than illness-related stressors, such as pain or disability.

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