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Pain coping: a study of injured workers with long term pain Open Access


Other title
chronic pain
occupational injury
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Phillips, Leah Adeline
Supervisor and department
Carroll, Linda (Public Health Sciences)
Voaklander, Donald (Public Health Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Loisel, Patrick (Occupational and Environmental Health)
Truscott, Derek (Educational Pyschology)
Beach, Jeremy (Community and Occupational Medicine)
Gross, Douglas (Physical Therapy)
Department of Public Health Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Pain coping is the purposeful effort people use to manage and minimize the negative impacts of pain. The scientific literature on pain coping conceptualizes its role in recovery as a reciprocal interactive process of psychological, social, and biological factors. The objective of this dissertation was to investigate how workers cope with pain and how coping relates to recovery. Paper one-“How Do Injured Workers Cope with Pain? A Descriptive Study of Injured Workers with Occupationally Related Long Term Pain”, aimed to identify pain coping strategies used by workers and identify characteristics related to each strategy. This study hypothesized that workers’ coping may be a function of biological, social, and psychological factors. The results indicated that the most frequently used coping strategy was ‘coping self statements’, followed by ‘praying and hoping’, and ‘catastrophizing’. Additionally, coping strategies differed according to gender, marital status, education, part of the body injured, levels of depressed symptomatology, and pain. The objective of paper two, “Predicting Recovery for Workers with Chronic Pain: Does Pain Coping Matter?”, was to measure the prognostic values of pain coping strategies, using polynomial logistic regression and Cox regression, on two commonly used measures of recovery, self perceived disability and time to suspension of benefits. The adjusted polynomial models showed that ‘coping self statements’ predicted moderate disability. The Cox regressions showed that increases in ‘diverting attention’, ‘pain related behaviours’, and ‘perceived control’ meant small but significant decreased chances of suspended benefits. Paper three, “Self Perceived Disability in Workers with Chronic Pain: Does Depression Matter?”, sought to identify factors associated with self perceived disability at the beginning of rehabilitation. Depression and pain interacted to affect disability therefore, two multivariable models were built. For depressed workers, every one point increase in pain was associated with a 58% increased odds of moderate disability and a 258% increased odds of severe disability, compared to low disability. ‘Pain control’ was protective for moderate and severe disability. For non-depressed workers, a one point increase in pain was associated with a 97% increased odds of moderate and a 109% increased odds for severe disability. However, ‘Pain control’ was non-significant.
License granted by Leah Phillips ( on 2010-09-28T20:22:54Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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