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The psychology of pain-related disability: Implications for intervention 

The psychology of pain-related disability: Implications for intervention
The psychology of pain-related disability: Implications for intervention

Michael J. L. Sullivan

, Stephania Donayre Pimentel

, and Catherine Paré

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date: 30 March 2020

Research over the past two decades a pointed to a number of pain-related psychological variables and mental health conditions that impede recovery following musculoskeletal injury. This chapter briefly reviews evidence suggesting that pain-related psychological variables such as recovery expectancies, self-efficacy, pain catastrophizing, perceived injustice, and fear-avoidance beliefs, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) play a significant role as determinants of work-disability in individuals with musculoskeletal conditions. Although significant advances have been made with respect to the identification of psychological variables that contribute to prolonged work disability, what has lagged is the development of risk-targeted interventions to promote occupational reintegration. Although numerous clinical trials have shown statistically significant changes in pain-related psychological risk factors, the clinical significance of observed changes has been questioned. The development and evaluation of risk targeted interventions aimed at promoting occupational reintegration in work-disabled individuals will need to be a priority for future research in this area.

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