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Psychosocial Correlates of Objective, Performance-Based, and Patient-Reported Physical Function Among Patients with Heterogeneous Chronic Pain

Authors Greenberg J, Mace RA, Popok PJ, Kulich RJ, Patel KV, Burns JW, Somers TJ, Keefe FJ, Schatman ME, Vranceanu AM

Received 11 June 2020

Accepted for publication 13 August 2020

Published 10 September 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 2255—2265


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Robert B. Raffa

Jonathan Greenberg, 1, 2 Ryan A Mace, 1, 2 Paula J Popok, 1 Ronald J Kulich, 2, 3 Kushang V Patel, 4 John W Burns, 5 Tamara J Somers, 6 Francis J Keefe, 7 Michael E Schatman, 8, 9 Ana-Maria Vranceanu 1, 2

1Integrated Brain Health Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA; 2Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; 3Center for Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA; 4Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; 5Division of Behavioral Sciences, Rush Medical College, Chicago, IL, USA; 6Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA; 7Department of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, US; 8Department of Diagnostic Sciences, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA; 9Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA

Correspondence: Ana-Maria Vranceanu Email

Background: Improving all aspects of physical function is an important goal of chronic pain management. Few studies follow recent guidelines to comprehensively assess physical function via patient-reported, performance-based, and objective/ambulatory measures.
Purpose: To test 1) the interrelation between the 3 types of physical function measurement and 2) the association between psychosocial factors and each type of physical function measurement.
Methods: Patients with chronic pain (N=79) completed measures of: 1) physical function (patient-reported disability; performance-based  6-minute walk-test; objective accelerometer step count); 2) pain and non-adaptive coping (pain during rest and activity, pain-catastrophizing, kinesiophobia); 3) adaptive coping (mindfulness, general coping, pain-resilience); and 4) social-emotional dysfunction (anxiety, depression, social isolation and emotional support). First, we tested the interrelation among the 3 aspects of physical function. Second, we used structural equation modeling to test associations between psychosocial factors (pain and non-adaptive coping, adaptive coping, and social-emotional dysfunction) and each measurement of physical function.
Results: Performance-based and objective physical function were significantly interrelated (r=0.48, p< 0.001) but did not correlate with patient-reported disability. Pain and non-adaptive coping (β=0.68, p< 0.001), adaptive coping (β=− 0.65, p< 0.001) and social-emotional dysfunction (β=0.65, p< 0.001) were associated with patient-reported disability but not to performance-based or objective physical function (ps> 0.1).
Conclusion: Results suggest that patient-reported physical function may provide limited information about patients’ physical capacity or ambulatory activity. While pain and non-adaptive reactions to it, adaptive coping, and social-emotional dysfunction may potentially improve patient-reported physical function, additional targets may be needed to improve functional capacity and ambulatory activity.
Trial Registration: NCT03412916.

Keywords: physical function, chronic pain, six-minute walk test, accelerometer, psychosocial factors

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