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Internal health locus of control as a predictor of pain reduction in multidisciplinary inpatient treatment for chronic pain: a retrospective study

Authors Zuercher-Huerlimann E, Stewart JA, Egloff N, von Känel R, Studer M, grosse Holtforth M

Received 26 November 2018

Accepted for publication 28 May 2019

Published 8 July 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 2095—2099

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S189442

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Ms Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr E Alfonso Romero-Sandoval


Elian Zuercher-Huerlimann,1,2 Julian A Stewart,1,3 Niklaus Egloff,1 Roland von Känel,4 Martina Studer,1,3 Martin grosse Holtforth1,3

1Division of Psychosomatic Medicine, Department of Neurology, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland; 2Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; 3Department of Psychology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland; 4Department of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Purpose: Chronic pain is a major health concern and its treatment requires physiological as well as psychological interventions. This study investigates the predictive value of health locus of control (HLOC) in pain intensity in chronic pain patients in an inpatient treatment setting.
Patients and methods: Data of 225 patients with a chronic pain condition were collected in a psychosomatic university clinic in Switzerland. Self-report assessment tools were used to measure pain intensity pre- and posttreatment and with a questionnaire dimensions of the HLOC were captured. Using hierarchic linear regression analysis, the predictive value of HLOC was investigated.
Results: A higher internal HLOC at pre-treatment was associated with a greater reduction in pain intensity from pre- to posttreatment (β = −0.151, p<0.05). For social-external and fatalistic-external HLOC no significant effects were observed.
Conclusion: Internal HLOC showed predictive value regarding the reduction in pain intensity in a multidisciplinary inpatient treatment for chronic pain, whereas social-external and fatalistic-external HLOC did not. Early interventions to strengthen internal beliefs of health control may be a promising component in multidisciplinary inpatient treatment for patients with chronic pain.

Keywords: chronic pain, health attribution, pain relief, inpatient treatment, self-management

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