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Pain Research and Management
Volume 2016, Article ID 6838596, 9 pages
Research Article

Incorporating Family Function into Chronic Pain Disability: The Role of Catastrophizing

1Family Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, G.C., Tehran 1983963113, Iran
2Department of Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, G.C., Tehran 1983963113, Iran
3Psychology Department, Bilkent University, 06800 Ankara, Turkey
4Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, Bilkent University, 06800 Ankara, Turkey
5Department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

Received 26 June 2015; Accepted 4 December 2015

Copyright © 2016 Fatemeh Akbari et al. 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.


Background. Observers’ responses to pain are recently investigated to more comprehensively explain chronic pain (CP) and disability. However, the role of family context, defined as interference in roles, communication, and problem-solving, and how (i.e., through which mechanisms) these variables contribute to CP related disability have yet to be examined. Objectives. The aim of the present study is to examine family context in relationship to pain catastrophizing, fear of movement, and depression and its role in understanding CP disability. Three different models were examined. Methods. A total sample of 142 patients with musculoskeletal chronic pain was recruited to examine the role of fear of movement, pain intensity, pain catastrophizing, and depression in relationship to family functioning as predictors of disability. Results. Findings indicated that two models showed acceptable fit, but one of them revealed superior fit indices. Results of the model with superior fit indices indicated that family dysfunction may contribute to catastrophic thinking, which, in turn, contributes to patients’ disability through increasing fear of movement and depression. Discussion. The current study provides further support for the notion that the impact of emotional and cognitive variables upon CP-related disability can be better understood when we consider the social context of pain patients and family function in particular.