Exploring differences in pain beliefs within and between a large nonclinical (workplace) population and a clinical (chronic low back pain) population using the pain beliefs questionnaire
journal contributionposted on 27.10.2015, 12:39 by Andrew J. Baird, Roger Haslam
Background. Beliefs, cognitions, and behaviors relating to pain can be associated with a range of negative outcomes. In patients, certain beliefs are associated with increased levels of pain and related disability. There are few data, however, showing the extent to which beliefs of patients differ from those of the general population. Objective. This study explored pain beliefs in a large nonclinical population and a chronic low back pain (CLBP) sample using the Pain Beliefs Questionnaire (PBQ) to identify differences in scores and factor structures between and within the samples. Design. This was a cross-sectional study. Methods. The samples comprised patients attending a rehabilitation program and respondents to a workplace survey. Pain beliefs were assessed using the PBQ, which incorporates 2 scales: organic and psychological. Exploratory factor analysis was used to explore variations in factor structure within and between samples. The relationship between the 2 scales also was examined. Results. Patients reported higher organic scores and lower psychological scores than the nonclinical sample. Within the nonclinical sample, those who reported frequent pain scored higher on the organic scale than those who did not. Factor analysis showed variations in relation to the presence of pain. The relationship between scales was stronger in those not reporting frequent pain. Limitations. This was a cross-sectional study; therefore, no causal inferences can be made. Conclusions. Patients experiencing CLBP adopt a more biomedical perspective on pain than nonpatients. The presence of pain is also associated with increased biomedical thinking in a nonclinical sample. However, the impact is not only on the strength of beliefs, but also on the relationship between elements of belief and the underlying belief structure.