Pain-Related Acceptance as a Mediator in the Fear Avoidance Model of Chronic Pain: A Preliminary Study

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The fear avoidance model has served as a popular, heuristic model in explaining the transition from acute to chronic pain. In addition, the significance of pain-related acceptance in chronic pain development and adjustment is underlined in a vast number of empirical studies. The objective of the current preliminary study was to investigate pain-related acceptance as a mediator within the key cognitive relationships proposed by the fear avoidance model of chronic pain.

Materials and Methods. In a cross-sectional design, bodily pain, pain catastrophizing, fear avoidance beliefs, and pain-related acceptance were assessed by questionnaires in 125 chronic pain patients in a Danish multidisciplinary pain center. Mediation analyses were performed to test the effect of pain-related acceptance on bodily pain, pain catastrophizing, and fear avoidance beliefs.

Medium-sized correlations were found between all outcomes. Mediation analyses revealed that pain-related acceptance was a significant mediator between 1) bodily pain and pain catastrophizing and 2) pain catastrophizing and fear avoidance beliefs after controlling for bodily pain. Furthermore, pain-related acceptance accounted for a large proportion in both associations (82.2% and 56.1%).

The results suggest that pain-related acceptance is a prominent psychological mechanism within the key cognitive associations of the fear avoidance model, which predicts a certain path of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral factors in the development and maintenance of chronic pain. This proposes pain-related acceptance to be an important mechanism that possibly counteracts the negative reactions of pain catastrophizing and fear avoidance beliefs. These findings should be investigated further and could potentially be an important place to intervene clinically in order to counteract the development and/or maintenance of chronic pain.
TidsskriftPain Medicine
Udgave nummer9
Sider (fra-til)1764–1771
StatusUdgivet - 1. sep. 2018


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