Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Pain. 1997 Nov;73(2):165-72.

Pain coping and the pain experience during mammography: a preliminary study.

Author information

  • 1Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


This study examined how pain coping efficacy and pain coping strategies were related to reports of pain during mammography. Subjects were 125 women over the age of 50 undergoing screening mammograms. Prior to their mammogram, all subjects completed the Coping Strategies Questionnaire (CSQ) to assess how they cope with day-to-day pain experiences. Ratings of pain during the mammogram were collected using a 6-point pain/discomfort scale, a 100-mm Visual Analog Scale, the adjective checklist of the McGill Pain Questionnaire, and the Brief Pain Inventory. Up to 93% of the women reported the mammogram examination was painful. On average, women rated the mammography pain in the low to moderate range. Considerable variability in pain ratings was found, however, with some women reporting severe pain and others reporting little or no pain. Correlational analyses were conducted to examine how coping efficacy (CSQ ratings of ability to decrease pain and ability to control pain) and coping strategies (CSQ pain coping strategy subscales) related to variations in pain report. There was a pattern for ratings of ability to decrease pain to be related to lower ratings of current mammography pain. Women who rated their ability to decrease pain as high reported lower average levels of mammography pain, lower ratings on the mammography pain/discomfort scale, and were much more likely to report having had lower levels of pain during their last mammogram. These findings suggest that women who rate their coping efficacy in decreasing day-to-day pain as low may be at higher risk for having a painful mammogram. Individual pain coping strategies were not generally correlated with pain ratings. Behavioral interventions (e.g., patient controlled breast compression) and cognitive therapy interventions (e.g., training in the use of calming self-statements or distraction techniques) designed to increase coping efficacy potentially could be useful in reducing pain in women who are at risk for pain during mammography.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk