BackgroundChronic non-specific musculoskeletal pain is a common problem among adolescents. This study investigates the importance of future goals and goal frustration for adolescents and young adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain compared to healthy adolescents. It also explores the impact that pain intensity, pain catastrophizing and depressive symptoms have on goal frustration for adolescents with chronic pain.
MethodsUsing a cross-sectional design, we compared the importance and frustration of future goals for 42 adolescents and young adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain (41 women, 1 man) to those of 42 adolescents without pain (35 women, 7 men). For the adolescents with chronic pain, we also examined levels of pain intensity, pain catastrophizing and depressive symptoms to assess their ability to explain goal frustration levels. Statistics included t-tests, Mann-Whitney test and multivariate regression analysis.
ResultsWe found no differences in the importance of future goals, except for goals related to health, which were more important for adolescents with chronic pain (p=0.03). Furthermore, adolescents with chronic pain perceived higher levels of goal frustration in all domains, except that related to school (p=0.16). Depression explained goal frustration related to personal values (p=0.02), social acceptance (p
ConclusionsDealing with chronic pain in adolescence and early adulthood does not seem to change future goals, but is associated with perceiving barriers to achieving them. The level of depressive symptoms seems to influence this relationship. Some caution is required in generalizing the results due to the relatively low number of male participants.