Pain catastrophizing and consequences of musculoskeletal pain: a prospective study in the Dutch community.

J.R.M. Severeijns*, J.W.S. Vlaeyen, M.A. van den Hout, H.S. Picavet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


By elaborating on previous prospective and cross-sectional research, the primary aim of this study was to examine in the general community whether pain catastrophizing predicts the development of chronic pain complaints and other consequences of pain. The following health index values were examined as consequences of pain: specialist consultation, use of pain medication, and absenteeism. It was also examined whether these relationships were moderated by the number of pain problems and by pain intensity. The results demonstrated a generally low level of catastrophizing and a small but significant effect of catastrophizing on the development of chronic pain complaints. With respect to the health index values, no significant effects of catastrophizing were found, nor were the relationships between catastrophizing and chronicity and the health index values moderated by the number of pain problems or by pain intensity. Perspective: Because in the general community the level of catastrophizing is low, its role in the development of future pain problems is probably limited in this type of setting. More practically, the Pain Catastrophizing Scale, used to measure pain catastrophizing, is probably of limited use as a screening instrument in the general community. The disappointing results may indicate that, depending on the specific setting (eg, clinical, outpatient, or community) the role of pain catastrophizing is either more or less prominent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-132
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005

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