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Behav Res Ther. 2003 Oct;41(10):1163-82.

Cognitive factors influence outcome following multidisciplinary chronic pain treatment: a replication and extension of a cross-lagged panel analysis.

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Finch University of Health Sciences, The Chicago Medical School, Psychology Department, Building 51, 3333 Green Bay Road, Chicago, IL 60064, USA.


Reducing maladaptive cognitions is hypothesized to constitute an active therapeutic process in multidisciplinary pain programs featuring cognitive-behavioral interventions. A cross-lagged panel design was used to determine whether: a) early-treatment cognitive changes predicted late-treatment pain, interference, activity and mood changes, but not vice versa; b) three cognitive factors made unique contributions to outcome; c) substantial cognitive changes preceded substantial improvements in outcome. Sixty-five chronic pain patients, participating in a 4-week multidisciplinary program, completed measures of pain helplessness, catastrophizing, pain-related anxiety (process factors), pain severity, interference, activity level and depression (outcomes) at pre-, mid- and posttreatment. Results showed that early-treatment reductions in pain helplessness predicted late-treatment decreases in pain and interference, but not vice versa, and that early-treatment reductions in catastrophizing and pain-related anxiety predicted late-treatment improvements in pain severity, but not vice versa. Findings suggested that the three process factors predicted improvements mostly in common. However, little evidence was found that large early-treatment reductions in process variables preceded extensive improvements in pain. Findings replicate those of a recent report regarding cross-lagged effects, and offer support that cognitive changes may indeed influence late-treatment changes in outcomes.

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