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Pain Med. 2017 Nov 1;18(11):2116-2125. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnx053.

Resilience and Vulnerability Factors When Pain is Acute as Predictors of Disability: Findings From a Two-Year Longitudinal Study.

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Departments of Personality, Assessment and Psychological Treatment.
Psychobiology and Methodology of Behavioural Sciences, Universidad de Málaga, Málaga, Spain.



To investigate the predictive power of resilience and vulnerability factors in relation to pain-related disability.


A two-year prospective study investigated whether back pain-related disability was predicted by the following variables, measured when pain was acute: 1) pain-related disability, 2) pain intensity, 3) depression, 4) fear avoidance beliefs, 5) anxiety sensitivity, and 6) resilience.


Two hundred thirty-two patients treated in five primary care centers participated in this study. They were assessed at baseline during an acute back pain episode and at six, 12, 18, and 24 months. Ninety-nine patients completed all the assessment sessions. Linear mixed models were used to examine the trajectory of disability across the measurement occasions and its association with the predictors.


Individuals who had higher scores of disability and pain intensity when pain was acute also had higher scores of disability six months later; moreover, the increase in disability was greater over time in comparison with individuals with lower scores in disability and pain intensity when pain was acute. Individuals who had reported greater levels of fear avoidance beliefs when pain was acute also reported greater scores of disability six months later; however, no differences were found in the rate of change in disability. No associations were found between initial disability or rate of change and resilience, anxiety sensitivity, or depression.


Patients with acute back pain who show high levels of pain-related disability, pain intensity, and fear avoidance beliefs are at risk of developing back pain-related disability and should be the target of a preventive intervention.


Back Pain; Chronic Pain; Fear Avoidance Beliefs; Pain-Related Disability; Prospective Study; Resilience

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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