Two studies were designed to examine important predictors of pain following spinal cord injury (SCI), and the impact of pain on self-reported quality of life (QOL). Pain was defined as 'interference in day-to-day activities secondary to pain'. In order to determine risk factors associated with the development of pain interference, Study 1 examined the predictive validity of multiple demographic, medical, and QOL variables at year 1 post-SCI to self-reported pain interference 2 years post-injury. Results showed that middle age (30-59-year-olds), lower self-reported mental health, and pain interference at 1 year post-SCI were the most important unique predictors of pain interference 2 years post-SCI. In Study 2, participants were separated into four groups; (1) those pain-free at years 1 and 2, (2) those pain-free at year 1 and in pain at year 2, (3) those in pain at year 1 and pain-free at year 2, and (4) those in pain at years 1 and 2. Results showed that only those experiencing a change in pain interference status reported a change in QOL. More specifically, those developing pain interference (group 2) from year 1 to year 2 reported decreased life satisfaction, physical health, and mental health, whereas, those with resolving pain interference from year 1 to year 2 reported an increase in these same domains. Unexpectedly, change in pain interference status was unrelated to change in self-reported handicap. Implications and future directions are discussed. © 2002 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.