A linguistic analysis of future narratives in adolescents with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and their pain-free peers.

Emy Nimbley, Line Caes, Abbie Jones, Emma Fisher, Melanie Noel, Abbie Jordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain conditionthat often develops after injury, with a typical onset in adolescence. The impact ofchronic pain is far-reaching, with many adolescents reporting atypical developmental trajectories compared with peers. Social Comparison Theory offers a framework forunderstanding how such comparisons influence wellbeing, whereby a heightened sense of disparity places adolescents at risk of poor cognitive, affective and socialoutcomes. Using a novel linguistic analysis programme, this study aims to investigate cognitive, affective and social language used by adolescents with CRPS in comparisonto their peers during a task reflecting on their futures.Methods. A story completion task was completed by adolescents with CPRS (n=49)and adolescents without pain (n=48). This task involved asking adolescents to describe their imagined future. Narratives were analysed using a novel linguistic analysisprogramme, focusing on the cognitive, affective and social dimensions.Results. Findings revealed significant group differences in how adolescents withCRPS described their imagined futures. Adolescents with CRPS used significantlyfewer positive affect and more negative affect, anger and sadness words, and greaterinsight and discrepancy words. No significant groups differences were found for socialwords.Conclusions. Substantial differences in cognitive and affective words were foundbetween adolescents with and without CRPS. Findings provide novel insights into current understandings of cognitive, affective and social processes in adolescents living with chronic pain, particularly with regard to adolescent developmental trajectories, and may in turn highlight potential targets in psychosocial interventions for adolescents living with chronic pain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-703
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain
Volume25
Issue number3
Early online date1 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2021

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