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Pain. 2004 Oct;111(3):245-52.

Self-efficacy, fear avoidance, and pain intensity as predictors of disability in subacute and chronic musculoskeletal pain patients in primary health care.

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Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Section of Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala Science Park, Uppsala Se-751 83, Sweden.


This study examined the relations between disability, as measured by the Pain Disability Index (PDI) and self-efficacy, fear avoidance variables (kinesiophobia and catastrophizing), and pain intensity, using a prospective design. Two primary health care samples (n(1)=210; n(2)=161) of patients with subacute, chronic or recurring musculoskeletal pain completed sets of questionnaires at the beginning of a physiotherapy treatment period. Multiple hierarchial regression analyses showed that self-efficacy explained a considerably larger proportion of the variance in disability scores than the fear avoidance variables in the first sample. This finding was replicated in the second sample. Pain intensity explained a small, but significant proportion of the variance in disability scores in one sample only. Gender, age, and pain duration were not related to disability. These findings suggest that self-efficacy beliefs are more important determinants of disability than fear avoidance beliefs in primary health care patients with musculoskeletal pain. The findings also suggest that pain-related beliefs, such as self-efficacy and fear avoidance, in turn, are more important determinants of disability than pain intensity and pain duration in these patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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