This study examined the role of catastrophizing in mediating the relationship between pain intensity and depressed mood in older adults with persistent pain using reliable and valid measures for this population. A convenience sample of 669 patients 61 years and over attending a tertiary-level referral pain center completed questionnaires measuring pain intensity, depressed mood, and catastrophizing as part of a clinical assessment process. The catastrophizing subscale of the Pain-Related Self-Statements scale (PRSS-Catastrophizing) was examined for internal consistency and factor structure. Mediation was tested for each factor from the optimal model of the PRSS-Catastrophizing scale using regression analyses, which included measures of pain intensity and depressed mood. The PRSS-Catastrophizing scale was found to be a reliable measure of pain-related catastrophizing. A 2-factor solution (magnification, helplessness) was identified. Both factors partially and significantly mediated the relationship between pain intensity and depressed mood. This study highlights the importance of cognitive factors-in this case catastrophizing-in the persistent pain experience of older adults. It also demonstrates that pain-related catastrophizing can be reliably measured in this population. These findings have important clinical implications. They emphasize the importance of using interventions to reduce catastrophizing to modify the pain experience of older adults with persistent pain.
Perspective: This study confirms the mediating role of catastrophizing in the relationship between pain intensity and depressed mood in older adults with persistent pain using psychometrically sound measures. These findings indicate that clinicians should address catastrophizing to improve treatment outcomes with this population.
- persistent pain