The relationship of cognitive coping strategies to pain behavior and sickness impact in chronic low back pain patients

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Robin A. Buhrke - Committee Chair


This study examined the relationship between problem-focused and emotion-focused cognitive coping strategies and self-report of sickness impact and display of pain behavior in a sample of 100 chronic low back pain (CLBP) patients at time of admission to a multidisciplinary pain center. Results of a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) to determine gender differences suggested that, on the average, women scored significantly higher (p $<$.05) along the eight scales of the Ways of Coping checklist than males; particularly in their utilization of planful problem-solving, positive reappraisal, escape avoidance, and seeking of social support strategies. Multiple regression analyses revealed that escape avoidance, self-controlling, and planful problem-solving coping strategies were consistently associated with self report of sickness impact in both males and females. Additionally, results showed that the use of distancing, escape-avoidance, confrontive, self-controlling, and planful problem-solving coping strategies was associated with display of certain pain behaviors only in the female CLBP patient sample. These results shed light not only on the association of cognitive coping strategies to both self-report and display of functional impairment in a multidisciplinary pain setting, but also on gender differences in coping with the chronic pain experience.


Psychology, Behavioral; Education, Guidance and Counseling; Education, Health; Psychology, Physiological

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