Catastrophizing, depression, and pain: Correlation with and influence on quality of life and health – A study of chronic whiplash-associated disorders
Björn Börsbo, Michael Peolsson, Björn Gerdle
Objective: The aims of this study were: (i) to classify subgroups according to the degree of pain intensity, depression, and catastrophizing, and investigate distribution in a group of patients with chronic whiplash-associated disorders; and (ii) to investigate how these subgroups were distributed and inter-related multivariately with respect to consequences such as health and quality of life outcome measures.
Design: Descriptive cross-sectional study.
Patients: A total of 275 consecutive chronic pain patients with whiplash-associated disorders who were referred to a university hospital.
Methods: The following data were obtained by means of self-report questionnaires: pain intensity in neck and shoulders, background history, Beck Depression Inventory, the catastrophizing scale of Coping Strategy Questionnaire, Life Satisfaction Checklist, the SF-36 Health Survey, and the EuroQol.
Results: Principal component analysis was used to recognize subgroups according to the degree of pain intensity, depression, and catastrophizing. These subgroups have specific characteristics according to perceived health and quality of life, and the degree of depression appears to be the most important influencing factor.
Conclusion: From a clinical point of view, these findings indicate that it is important to assess patients for intensity of pain, depression, and catastrophizing when planning a rehabilitation programme. Such an evaluation will help individualize therapy and intervention techniques so as to optimize the efficiency of the programme.
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