Background and aims
Trait behavioral inhibition represents a tendency to react with negative emotions – primarily worry – to cues which signal potential threats. This tendency has been hypothesized by a two-factor model of chronic pain to have direct effects on psychological and physical function in individuals with chronic pain, as well as to influence the associations between pain-related maladaptive cognitions and function. Our aim was to test these hypothesized associations in a sample of individuals who were being screened for possible interdisciplinary chronic pain treatment.
Eighty-eight patients referred to an interdisciplinary chronic pain management program were administered measures of average pain intensity, trait behavioral inhibition, kinesiophobia, pain catastrophizing, depressive symptoms, and pain interference. We then performed two linear regression analyses to evaluate the direct effects of trait behavioral inhibition on depressive symptoms and pain interference and the extent to which behavioral inhibition moderated the associations between kinesiophobia and pain catastrophizing, and the criterion variables.
In partial support of the study hypotheses, the results showed significant (and independent) direct effects of trait behavioral inhibition on depressive symptoms, and behavioral inhibition moderated the association between kinesiophobia and depression, such that there were stronger associations between kinesiophobia and depressive symptoms in those with higher dispositional sensitivity to fear-inducing stimuli. However, neither direct nor moderating effects of behavioral inhibition emerged in the prediction of pain interference.
If replicated in additional studies, the findings would indicate that chronic pain treatments which target both reductions in maladaptive cognitions (to decrease the direct negative effects of these on depressive symptoms) and the individual’s tendency to respond to pain with worry (as a way to buffer the potential effects of maladaptive cognitions on depressive symptoms) might be more effective than treatments that targeted only one of these factors.
Additional research is needed to further evaluate the direct and moderating effects of pain-related behavioral inhibition on function, as well as the extent to which treatments which target behavioral inhibition responses provide benefits to individuals with chronic pain.
Source: Scandinavian Journal of Pain, 17, 41-48.
Author: Jensen, M. P., Solé, E., Castarlenas, E., Racine, M., Roy, R., Miró, J., & Cane, D. (2017).http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sjpain.2017.07.002