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Clin J Pain. 2012 Jan;28(1):47-54. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e31822019b1.

Changes in pain-related beliefs, coping, and catastrophizing predict changes in pain intensity, pain interference, and psychological functioning in individuals with myotonic muscular dystrophy and facioscapulohumeral dystrophy.

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  • 1Department of Psychology and Education, Psinet Research Group-Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Rambla del Poble Nou, 156. Barcelona 08018, Spain.



The primary aim of this study was to test hypothesized associations between changes in psychological variables (ie, pain beliefs, catastrophizing, and coping strategies) and changes in pain intensity and related adjustment (ie, pain interference and psychological functioning) in individuals with myotonic muscular dystrophy (MMD) and facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD).


A sample of 107 adults with a diagnosis of MMD or FSHD, reporting pain in the past 3 months, completed assessments at 2 time points, separated by approximately 24 months.


Results showed that changes in pain-related psychological variables were significantly associated with changes in psychological functioning, pain intensity, and pain interference. Specifically, increases in the belief that emotion influences pain, and catastrophizing were associated with decreases in psychological functioning. Increases in the coping strategies of asking for assistance and resting, and the increases of catastrophizing were associated with increases in pain intensity. Finally, increases in pain intensity and asking for assistance were associated with increases in pain interference.


The results support the use of the biopsychosocial model of pain for understanding pain and its impact in individuals with MMD or FSHD. These findings may inform the design and implementation of psychosocial pain treatments for people with muscular dystrophy and chronic pain.

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