Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/93841
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Type: Journal article
Title: Psychological functioning of people living with chronic pain: a meta-analytic review
Author: Burke, A.
Mathias, J.
Denson, L.
Citation: British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2015; 54(3):345-360
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 0144-6657
2044-8260
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Anne L. J. Burke, Jane L. Mathias and Linley A. Denson
Abstract: Objectives. Chronic pain (CP; >3 months) is a common condition that is associated with significant psychological problems. Many people with CP do not fit into discrete diagnostic categories, limiting the applicability of research that is specific to a particular pain diagnosis. This meta-analysis synthesized the large extant literature from a general CP, rather than diagnosis-specific, perspective to systematically identify and compare the psychological problems most commonly associated with CP. Methods. Four databases were searched from inception to December 2013 (PsychINFO, The Cochrane Library, Scopus, and PubMed) for studies comparing the psychological functioning of adults with CP to healthy controls. Data from 110 studies were meta-analysed and Cohen’s d effect sizes calculated. Results. The CP group reported experiencing significant problems in a range of psychological domains (depression, anxiety, somatization, anger/hostility, self-efficacy, self-esteem and general emotional functioning), with the largest effects observed for pain anxiety/concern and somatization; followed by anxiety and self-efficacy; and then depression, anger/hostility, self-esteem and general emotional functioning. Conclusions. This study demonstrates, for the first time, that individuals with CP are more likely to experience physically focussed psychological problems than other psychological problems and that, unlike self-efficacy, fear of pain is intrinsically tied to the CP experience. This challenges the prevailing view that, for individuals with CP, problems with depression are either equal to, or greater than, problems with anxiety, thereby providing important information to guide therapeutic targets.
Keywords: Chronic pain; anxiety; somatization; depression; psychological function
Description: First published online: 13 March 2015
Rights: © 2015 The British Psychological Society
RMID: 0030025298
DOI: 10.1111/bjc.12078
Appears in Collections:Psychology publications

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