The fear-avoidance model of musculoskeletal pain: current state of scientific evidence

M. Leeuw*, M.E.J.B. Goossens, S.J. Linton, G. Crombez, K. Boersma, J.W.S. Vlaeyen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Research studies focusing on the fear-avoidance model have expanded considerably since the review by Vlaeyen and Linton (Vlaeyen J. W. S. & Linton, S. J. (2000). Fear-avoidance and its consequences in chronic musculoskeletal pain: a state of the art. Pain, 85(3), 317-332). The fear-avoidance model is a cognitive-behavioral account that explains why a minority of acute low back pain sufferers develop a chronic pain problem. This paper reviews the current state of scientific evidence for the individual components of the model: pain severity, pain catastrophizing, attention to pain, escape/avoidance behavior, disability, disuse, and vulnerabilities. Furthermore, support for the contribution of pain-related fear in the inception of low back pain, the development of chronic low back pain from an acute episode, and the maintenance of enduring pain, will be highlighted. Finally, available evidence on recent clinical applications is provided, and unresolved issues that need further exploration are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-94
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


Dive into the research topics of 'The fear-avoidance model of musculoskeletal pain: current state of scientific evidence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this