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Chronic pain acceptance incrementally predicts disability in polytrauma-exposed veterans at baseline and 1-year follow-up.

Cook AJ, Meyer EC, Evans LD, Vowles KE, Klocek JW, Kimbrel NA, Gulliver SB, Morissette SB. Chronic pain acceptance incrementally predicts disability in polytrauma-exposed veterans at baseline and 1-year follow-up. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2015 Oct 1; 73:25-32.

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War veterans are at increased risk for chronic pain and co-occurring neurobehavioral problems, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, alcohol-related problems, and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Each condition is associated with disability, particularly when co-occurring. Pain acceptance is a strong predictor of lower levels of disability in chronic pain. This study examined whether acceptance of pain predicted current and future disability beyond the effects of these co-occurring conditions in war veterans. Eighty trauma-exposed veterans with chronic pain completed a PTSD diagnostic interview, clinician-administered mTBI screening, and self-report measures of disability, pain acceptance, depression, and alcohol use. Hierarchical regression models showed pain acceptance to be incrementally associated with disability after accounting for symptoms of PTSD, depression, alcohol-related problems, and mTBI (total adjusted R(2) = .57, p < .001, R(2) = .03, p = .02). At 1-year follow-up, the total variance in disability accounted for by the model decreased (total adjusted R(2) = .29, p < .001), whereas the unique contribution of pain acceptance increased ( R(2) = .07, p = .008). Pain acceptance remained significantly associated with 1-year disability when pain severity was included in the model. Future research should evaluate treatments that address chronic pain acceptance and co-occurring conditions to promote functional recovery in the context of polytrauma in war veterans.

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