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Pain Research and Management
Volume 7, Issue 3, Pages 120-126
Anxiety and Related Factors in Chronic Pain

Perceived Cognitive Deficits, Emotional Distress and Disability following Whiplash Injury

Michael JL Sullivan,1 Erin Hall,2 Rosita Bartolacci,2 Maureen E Sullivan,3 and Heather Adams4

1Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, Canada
2Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Canada
3Fenwick Psychological and Health Consultants, Canada
4Pain Research Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


OBJECTIVES: To describe the pattern of perceived cognitive deficits in patients with whiplash injury, to examine the relation between perceived cognitive deficits and disability, and to examine the determinants of perceived cognitive deficits in patients with whiplash injury.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 81 individuals participated in the study. There were 29 patients (13 men, 16 women) with a diagnosis of whiplash, grade I or II. Patients with work-related soft-tissue injuries (n=24) and nonclinical controls (n=28) were included as comparison groups.

METHODS: Participants completed measures of perceived cognitive deficits, pain severity, depression, anxiety and pain-related disability.

RESULTS: Both patient groups scored significantly higher than the nonpatient control group on the measure of perceived cognitive deficits, but did not differ significantly from each other. Perceptions of cognitive deficits were significantly correlated with pain-related disability. A hierarchical regression examining the relative contribution of anxiety, depression and pain showed that only anxiety and depression contributed significant unique variance to the prediction of perceived cognitive deficits.

DISCUSSION: The potential benefits of focusing interventions on the management of anxiety and depression in the rehabilitation of patients with whiplash injuries are discussed.