An investigation of the impact of stress, appraisal and coping strategies on pain intensity in a chronic pain population.
The aim of the study was to investigate the application of aspects of Lazarus and Folkman's theory of Stress, Appraisal and Coping, to the chronic pain experience. In this context, the researcher explored the relationship between pain intensity and stress level. The association between pain intensity and the intensity of negative or positive attitudes towards the pain experience was also investigated. In addition, the relationship between pain intensity and the frequency of employing active, problem focused coping-strategies, or passive, emotion focused strategies, was explored. 105 subjects completed the South African Chronic Pain Questionnaire; an assessment tool based on adapted internationally validated measures. Findings suggest that there is a proportional relationship between pain intensity and stress level in the present chronic pain population. A positive relationship between pain intensity and the intensity of negative attitudes was revealed. A positive relationship was also reflected between pain intensity and the employ of passive, emotion-focused coping-strategies. There is a paucity of research that provides a theoretical framework in which to conceptualize the association between stress, appraisal and coping in chronic pain. To this end, the researcher has employed Lazarus and Folkman's theory in order to conceptualize the relationship between these variables and chronic pain intensity.