The fear-avoidance model of chronic pain: Validation and age analysis using structural equation modeling

Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Pain Management, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.
Pain (Impact Factor: 5.84). 05/2006; 121(3):195-206. DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2005.11.018
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The cognitive-behavioral, fear-avoidance (FA) model of chronic pain (Vlaeyen JWS, Kole-Snijders AMJ, Boeren RGB, van Eek H. Fear of movement/(re)injury in chronic low back pain and its relation to behavioral performance. Pain 1995a;62:363-72) has found broad empirical support, but its multivariate, predictive relationships have not been uniformly validated. Applicability of the model across age groups of chronic pain patients has also not been tested. Goals of this study were to validate the predictive relationships of the multivariate FA model using structural equation modeling and to evaluate the factor structure of the Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia (TSK), levels of pain-related fear, and fit of the FA model across three age groups: young (< or =40), middle-aged (41-54), and older (> or =55) adults. A heterogeneous sample of 469 chronic pain patients provided ratings of catastrophizing, pain-related fear, depression, perceived disability, and pain severity. Using a confirmatory approach, a 2-factor, 13-item structure of the TSK provided the best fit and was invariant across age groups. Older participants were found to have lower TSK fear scores than middle-aged participants for both factors (FA, Harm). A modified version of the Vlaeyen JWS, Kole-Snijders AMJ, Boeren RGB, van Eek H (Fear of movement/(re)injury in chronic low back pain and its relation to behavioral performance. Pain 1995a;62:363-72.) FA model provided a close fit to the data (chi(2)(29)=42.0, p>0.05, GFI=0.98, AGFI=0.97, CFI=0.99, RMSEA=0.031 (90% CI 0.000-0.050), p close fit=0.95). Multigroup analyses revealed significant differences in structural weights for older vs. middle-aged participants. For older chronic pain patients, a stronger mediating role for pain-related fear was supported. Results are consistent with a FA model of chronic pain, while indicating some important age group differences in this model and in levels of pain-related fear. Longitudinal testing of the multivariate model is recommended.

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