Pain self-efficacy moderates the association between pain and somatization in a community sample
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CitationKarkkola, Petri. Sinikallio, Sanna. Flink, Niko. Honkalampi, Kirsi. Kuittinen, Matti. (2018). Pain self-efficacy moderates the association between pain and somatization in a community sample. SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF PAIN, [Epub ahead of print 21 Sept 2018], 10.1515/sjpain-2018-0052.
Background and aims
Pain is a common condition. However, only a minority of people experiencing pain develop a chronic pain problem. Factors such as somatization, pain self-efficacy and lack of psychological well-being affect the risk of pain chronicity and pain-related disability. However, research on protective pain-related psychological factors in populations without chronic pain is scarce. We aim to examine if pain self-efficacy attenuates the associations between pain and both anxiety and somatization in a community sample.
In a cross-sectional study, 211 participants from a community sample responded to measures of average pain over the last 3 months, anxiety, somatization, and pain self-efficacy. The possibility of moderation effects were tested with a series of regression analyses.
The association between pain and anxiety was not moderated by pain self-efficacy. In contrast, pain self-efficacy moderated the relation of pain and somatization. The interaction explained 3% of the variance in somatization, in addition to the independent effects of pain and self-efficacy (F(1,207)=5.65, p<0.025). Among those in the bottom quartile of pain self-efficacy, the association between pain and somatization was moderate or strong (r=0.62, p<0.01), whereas for those in the top quartile the association was modest (r=0.11, p>0.05).
The results are partly consistent with the hypothesis that pain self-efficacy attenuates the associations between pain and pain chronification risk factors in a relatively healthy community sample. Should further preferably longitudinal studies replicate the findings, the role pain self-efficacy as a protective factor needs to be explicated in theoretical models of pain chronification.
The findings are consistent with the notion that clinicians should promote patient’s pain self-efficacy in acute and sub-acute pain conditions especially when the individual is prone to somatization. However, more prominent clinical implications require studies with longitudinal designs.