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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2012 May;23(2):543-56. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2012.0042.

Pain characteristics and pain catastrophizing in incarcerated women with chronic pain.

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Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine, UHN-2, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.


Chronic pain in incarcerated women is understudied and poorly described. Study objectives were to describe pain characteristics, correlates, and predictors in a convenience sample of incarcerated women with chronic pain. A survey packet that included the Brief Pain Inventory Short Form (BPI-SF) and the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) was distributed to all inmates at a state prison for women. Those who self-identified as having chronic pain ≥4 on a 0-10 numeric rating scale were invited to complete the survey. Demographics and medical and psychiatric diagnoses were abstracted by chart review. Participants (N=159) rated their current and average pain intensity as severe. Pain catastrophizing was found to predict average pain intensity and level of pain-related interference in functioning. Pain catastrophizing is treatable with behavioral intervention in the general population. Findings suggest that pain catastrophizing may be an important target for research and treatment in incarcerated women with chronic pain.

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