Measuring control appraisals in chronic pain
Research has established a positive association between appraisals of control over pain and indexes of adaptive psychologic and physical functioning among persons with chronic pain. A number of measures of control appraisals have been used in the research literature. The current study sought to determine the number of factors or dimensions embedded in these commonly used measures of pain control appraisal. The study also sought to determine the association between the control appraisal construct(s) and measures of patient functioning. Two hundred fifty-two persons with chronic pain completed a questionnaire packet that included multiple measures of control appraisals. A factor analysis resulted in 6 factors: 1 factor representing beliefs about control over life in general, 1 representing perceived control over the effects of pain on one's life, and remaining 4 factors that appear to be more closely tied to perceived control over pain itself. Consistent with previous research, control appraisals made a significant contribution to the prediction of functioning (depression, disability, and pain interference). Most importantly, perceived control over the effects of pain on one's life and perceived control over life in general were more strongly associated with functioning than perceptions of control over pain itself.
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