Author(s): Gamsa A
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Abstract This paper, the second of two, concerning the study of psychological factors in chronic pain, presents a critical appraisal of the literature. Questionable assumptions, flawed methodology, and conceptual problems in earlier work are discussed, as are gradual improvements in methodological rigour and conceptual clarity. Methodological weaknesses in studies, including lack of control groups, selection biases, overinterpretation of correlational data, and use of inappropriate testing instruments are examined. Questions are raised about persisting tendencies to split mind from body by attributing pain to either organic or psychological causes. Despite advances in research and thinking in recent years, several issues remain unresolved in both the research enterprise and the clinical setting. These are discussed in relation to the respective needs of the researcher, the clinician, and the patient. Limitations on research conducted in clinical settings are considered and targets for improved methodology in studies are identified.
This article was published in Pain
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research