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Behav Res Ther. 1998 Jun;36(6):621-30.

Pain-related anxiety predicts non-specific physical complaints in persons with chronic pain.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago, IL 60657, USA.


Persons with chronic pain often report a range of physical symptoms beyond their primary pain complaint itself. We predicted that non-specific physical symptom complaints would correlate more strongly with pain-related distress than with general measures of distress, and that they would contribute directly to disability. Results from 210 adults with chronic pain showed that collateral physical complaints are common in persons with chronic pain. Correlational analyses showed that greater reporting of physical complaints was associated with reports of higher pain severity, higher levels of depression, more cognitive, escape/avoidance, fearful appraisal, and physiological symptoms of pain-related anxiety and more physical and psychosocial disability. Regression analyses showed that, with pain-related anxiety variables entered either before or after depression, physiological symptoms of pain-related anxiety significantly predicted physical complaints. In comparison with cognitive and somatic depression symptoms physiological symptoms of pain-related anxiety were the stronger predictor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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