University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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A preliminary evaluation of the motivational model of pain self-management in persons with spinal cord injury-related pain


Molton IR, Jensen MP, Nielson W, Cardenas D, Ehde DM



Publication Info:

Journal of Pain, 9(7):606-612


Chronic pain commonly accompanies long-term disabilities such as spinal cord injury (SCI). Research suggests that patient motivation to engage in adaptive pain coping strategies, such as exercise/stretching and task persistence, is an important factor in determining the impact that this pain will have on quality of life. One recently proposed model (the Motivational Model of Pain Self-Management) suggests that motivation to manage pain is influenced by 2 primary variables: Beliefs about the importance of engaging in pain self-management (ie, perceived importance) and beliefs about one's own ability to engage in these behaviors (ie, self-efficacy). The purpose of this study was to provide a preliminary test of this model in a sample of 130 adults with SCI who completed a return by mail survey. Measures included a numerical rating scale of pain intensity and the revised version of the Multidimensional Pain Readiness to Change Questionnaire. Mediation analyses were performed using multiple regression. Results suggested that the effects of perceived importance and self-efficacy on exercise behavior were mediated by readiness to engage in exercise, consistent with the proposed model. However, the model could not be established for the outcome of task persistence.
PERSPECTIVE: This study tests a model describing motivation to engage in pain management behaviors (ie, "readiness to change") in adults with SCI. This model could potentially aid clinicians in their conceptualization of the factors that affect patient motivation to manage pain.

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