Depressive symptoms and pain evaluations among persons with chronic pain: Catastrophizing, but not pain acceptance, shows significant effects

Academic Article


  • Cognitive factors such as catastrophic thoughts regarding pain, and conversely, one's acceptance of that pain, may affect emotional functioning among persons with chronic pain conditions. The aims of the present study were to examine the effects of both catastrophizing and acceptance on affective ratings of experimentally induced ischemic pain and also self-reports of depressive symptoms. Sixty-seven individuals with chronic back pain completed self-report measures of catastrophizing, acceptance, and depressive symptoms. In addition, participants underwent an ischemic pain induction procedure and were asked to rate the induced pain. Catastrophizing showed significant effects on sensory and intensity but not affective ratings of the induced pain. Acceptance did not show any significant associations, when catastrophizing was also in the model, with any form of ratings of the induced pain. Catastrophizing, but not acceptance, was also significantly associated with self-reported depressive symptoms when these two variables were both included in a regression model. Overall, results indicate negative thought patterns such as catastrophizing appear to be more closely related to outcomes of perceived pain severity and affect in persons with chronic pain exposed to an experimental laboratory pain stimulus than does more positive patterns as reflected in measures of acceptance. © 2009 International Association for the Study of Pain.
  • Published In

  • PAIN  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Richardson EJ; Ness TJ; Doleys DM; Baños JH; Cianfrini L; Scott Richards J
  • Start Page

  • 147
  • End Page

  • 152
  • Volume

  • 147
  • Issue

  • 1-3