Author(s): van den Hout JH, Vlaeyen JW, Houben RM, Soeters AP, Peters ML
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Abstract The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of non-pain-related failure experiences and pain-related fear on pain report, pain tolerance and pain avoidance in chronic low back pain (CLBP) patients. Moreover, the mediating and moderating role of negative affectivity (trait-NA) in the relationship between failure experiences and pain was examined. Seventy-six patients were divided into high and low pain-related fear groups and within each group they were randomly assigned to the failure or success feedback condition. In the first part of the study patients completed a 'social empathy test' and experimenter 1 subsequently delivered false failure or success feedback. A second experimenter, who was blind for the condition, subsequently administered two lifting tasks in order to obtain measures of pain report, tolerance and avoidance. Failure feedback did have an effect on pain avoidance but unexpectedly, and not as hypothesized, pain avoidance was reduced instead of enhanced. With regard to pain report and pain tolerance similar patterns were found, but these were not statistically significant. The effect of failure feedback on pain avoidance was moderated by trait-NA. Only in the subgroup of patients who scored low on trait-NA did failure feedback decrease pain avoidance. State-NA did not mediate the effects of feedback. In line with previous findings, pain-related fear resulted in lower pain tolerance. Moreover, this study was the first to show that pain-related fear predicted higher pain report in CLBP patients. Pain-related fear did not predict pain avoidance when pre-lifting pain and gender were controlled for. Finally, pre-lifting pain turned out to be the strongest predictor with regard to all pain measures. The role of pain-related fear and unexpected findings with regard to feedback are discussed as well as some clinical implications.
This article was published in Pain
and referenced in Journal of Pain Management & Medicine