The role of pain acceptance on function in individuals with disabilities: A longitudinal study

Mark P. Jensen, Amanda E. Smith, Kevin N. Alschuler, David Gillanders, Dagmar Amtmann, Ivan R. Molton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Having higher levels of pain acceptance has been shown to be associated positively with quality of life in patients with chronic pain, but its role in adjustment to chronic pain among individuals with physical disabilities living in the community is not known. Moreover, issues related to item overlap between measures of pain acceptance and measures of patient function have limited the conclusions that can be drawn from previous research in this area. To better understand the role that pain acceptance plays in patient function, we administered measures of pain acceptance, pain intensity, depressive symptoms, and function to 392 individuals with physical disabilities, and the pain, symptom and function measures were re-administered 3.5 years later. Analyses evaluated the main and interaction effects of initial pain acceptance on subsequent changes in pain and function. Having higher levels of pain acceptance - in particular as reflected by a willingness to engage in activities despite pain - resulted in less of an increase in pain intensity, and more improvements in pain interference, physical function, depressive symptoms, and sleep quality. The findings indicate that previous research supporting the importance of pain acceptance to function in patients from health care settings extends to individuals with chronic pain living in the community. Moreover, they indicate that pain acceptance may have long-lasting (up to 3.5 years) beneficial effects on subsequent pain and function and on the association between change in pain and depression. Research to examine the potential benefits of community-based treatments that increase pain acceptance is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Article number00006396-201601000-00025
Pages (from-to)247-254
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Early online date12 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Pain Intensity
  • Physical Function
  • Sleep Quality


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