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J Rehabil Med. 2013 Mar 6;45(3):277-85. doi: 10.2340/16501977-1102.

Life satisfaction in subjects with long-term musculoskeletal pain in relation to pain intensity, pain distribution and coping.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University Hospital of Northern Norway and University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway. audny.anke@rito.no



To investigate levels of life satisfaction in subjects with long-term musculoskeletal pain in relation to pain characteristics and coping.


Cross-sectional study.


A total of 232 (42%) respondents answered self--report questionnaires regarding life satisfaction, self-efficacy, sense of coherence, pain distribution and pain intensity at rest and during activity.


Levels of life satisfaction and scores for sense of coherence were low. Pain intensity at rest was negatively correlated with global life satisfaction. This result was also obtained in multiple regression analyses together with the coping factors. The life satisfaction domains activities of daily living/contacts were negatively correlated with pain intensity during activity, and the domains work/economy were negatively correlated with pain distribution. Pain was not associated with satisfaction with family life, partner relationship or sexual life. Younger age, being married/cohabitant and being female were protective for some domains. Clinically meaningful subgroups with regard to adaptation were identified by cluster analysis, and the highest level of coping was found in the adaptive cluster with high life satisfaction/low pain intensity at rest.


Long-term pain is related to low levels of life satisfaction, and pain intensity and distribution influence satisfaction in different domains. Pain intensity is negatively associated with coping. The results support efforts to reduce pain, together with strengthening active coping processes and addressing individual needs.

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