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The Interplay of Pain-Related Self-Efficacy and Fear on Functional Outcomes Among Youth With Headache

  • Elizabeth Carpino
    Affiliations
    Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Sharon Segal
    Affiliations
    Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Deirdre Logan
    Affiliations
    Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

    Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

    PAIN Group, Boston Children's Hospital & Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Alyssa Lebel
    Affiliations
    Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

    PAIN Group, Boston Children's Hospital & Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Laura E. Simons
    Correspondence
    Address reprint requests to Laura E. Simons, PhD, Pain Treatment Service, Boston Children's Hospital, 21 Autumn Street, Boston, MA 02215.
    Affiliations
    Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

    Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

    PAIN Group, Boston Children's Hospital & Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
    Search for articles by this author
Published:January 27, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2014.01.493

      Abstract

      Pain-related self-efficacy and pain-related fear have been proposed as opposing predictors of pain-related functional outcomes in youth with chronic pain. Self-efficacy is a potential resiliency factor that can mitigate the influence that pain-related fear has on outcomes in youth with chronic pain. Drawing from theoretical assertions tested among adults with chronic pain, this study aimed to determine whether pain-related self-efficacy mediates the adverse influence of pain-related fear on functional outcomes in a sample of youth with chronic headache. In a cross-sectional design of 199 youth with headache, self-efficacy was strongly associated with fear, disability, school impairment, and depressive symptoms. Pain intensity and self-efficacy were only modestly related, indicating that level of pain has less influence on one's confidence functioning with pain. Self-efficacy partially mediated relationships between pain-related fear and both functional disability and school functioning but did not mediate the relationship between pain-related fear and depressive symptoms. These results suggest that confidence in the ability to function despite pain and fear avoidance each uniquely contributes to pain-related outcomes in youth with chronic headache. These results further suggest that treatment for chronic headache in youth must focus not only on decreasing pain-related fear but also on enhancing a patient's pain-related self-efficacy.

      Perspective

      Pain-related self-efficacy is an important resiliency factor impacting the influence of pain-related fear on functional disability and school functioning in youth with headache. Enhancing self-efficacy may be a key mechanism for improving behavioral outcomes. Clinicians can reduce pain-related fear and enhance pain-related self-efficacy through interventions that encourage accomplishment and self-confidence.

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