Pain, perceived injustice and the persistence of post-traumatic stress symptoms during the course of rehabilitation for whiplash injuries

Michael J.L. Sullivan, Pascal Thibault, Maureen J. Simmonds, Maria Milioto, André Philippe Cantin, Ana M. Velly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study assessed the role of pain and pain-related psychological variables in the persistence of post-traumatic stress symptoms following whiplash injury. Individuals (N = 112) with whiplash injuries who had been admitted to a standardized multidisciplinary rehabilitation program were asked to complete measures of pain, post-traumatic stress symptoms, physical function and pain-related psychological variables at three different points during their treatment program. The findings are consistent with previous research showing that indicators of injury severity such as pain, reduced function and disability, and scores on pain-related psychological were associated with more severe post-traumatic stress symptoms in individuals with whiplash injuries. Contrary to expectations, indicators of pain severity did not contribute to the persistence of post-traumatic stress symptoms. Univariate analyses revealed that self-reported disability, pain catastrophizing and perceived injustice were significant determinants of the persistence of post-traumatic stress symptoms. In multivariate analyses, only perceived injustice emerged as a unique predictor of the persistence of post-traumatic stress symptoms. The results suggest that early adequate management of pain symptoms and disability consequent to whiplash injury might reduce the severity of post-traumatic stress symptoms. The development of effective intervention techniques for targeting perceptions of injustice might be important for promoting recovery of post-traumatic stress symptoms consequent to whiplash injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-331
Number of pages7
JournalPain
Volume145
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Keywords

  • Neck pain
  • Perceived injustice
  • Post-traumatic stress symptoms
  • Whiplash injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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