Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that can have an impact on various facets of interpersonal functioning. Although some studies have examined the extent to which family members are affected by an individual's chronic pain, none have examined patients' perceptions of feeling that they have become a burden to others. Research on self-perceived burden in different medical populations, such as cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and stroke, has shown that it is associated with physical symptoms and, more robustly, with psychological difficulties and concerns. The present study examined the prevalence and predictors of self-perceived burden in a tertiary chronic pain sample. Participants were consecutive patients (N = 238) admitted to an outpatient, interdisciplinary, chronic pain management program at a rehabilitation hospital. At admission, participants completed a battery of psychometric questionnaires assessing self-perceived burden, as well as a number of clinically relevant constructs. Their significant others (n = 80) also completed a measure of caregiver burden. Self-perceived burden was a commonly reported experience among chronic pain patients, with more than 70% of participants endorsing clinically elevated levels. It was significantly correlated with pain intensity ratings, functional limitations, depressive symptoms, attachment anxiety, pain self-efficacy, and caregiver burden. Self-perceived burden was also correlated with an item assessing suicidal ideation. In a hierarchical regression model, depressive symptoms, pain self-efficacy, and adult attachment significantly predicted self-perceived burden after controlling for demographic and pain-related variables. In conclusion, self-perceived burden is a clinically relevant and commonly reported interpersonal experience in patients with longstanding pain.
Cites: J Gen Intern Med. 2001 Sep;16(9):606-1311556941