A comparison of the relative utility of coping and acceptance-based measures in a sample of chronic pain sufferers

L M McCracken, C Eccleston

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125 Citations (SciVal)


Previous research suggests that to define the problem of chronic pain as a problem of coping may not be as useful as framing it as a problem of acceptance for some patients. The coping approach may encourage, or at least permit, a somewhat inflexible agenda of pain reduction or control while the acceptance approach may allow a more flexible agenda of willingness to have pain in some circumstances where that serves the goal of better life functioning. The purpose of this study was to continue to examine the relative utility of concepts of coping and acceptance of pain. Two hundred and thirty consecutive patients seeking assessment from a pain management service were the participants in the study. Patients completed the Coping Strategies Questionnaire (CSQ) and the Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire (CPAQ). A revised scoring method was used for the CSQ (to correct for technical limitations noted in the past) and recently developed subscales of the CPAQ were examined. Correlation results showed that the acceptance variables were reliably stronger predictors of distress and disability compared with coping variables. Regression analyses confirmed that, compared with coping variables, acceptance accounted larger unique increments in variance in measures of patient functioning regardless of whether the coping variables were given priority in the regression equations. Increasing data support the view that the pain management field may benefit from evolving toward incorporating a less control-oriented and more accommodating view of aversive private experiences in some circumstances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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