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The Role of Optimism and Pessimism in Chronic Pain Patients Adjustment

  • Carmen Ramírez-Maestre (a1), Rosa Esteve (a1) and Alicia E. López (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2013

This study analyses the relationships between patients' dispositional optimism and pessimism and the coping strategies they use. In addition, the coping strategies repercussions on adjustment to chronic pain were studied. Ninety-eight patients with heterogeneous chronic pain participated. The assessment tools were as follows: Life Orientation Test (LOT), the Vanderbilt Pain Management Inventory (VPMI), the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and the Impairment and Functioning Inventory for Chronic Pain Patients (IFI). The hypothetical model establishes positive relationships between optimism and the use of active coping strategies, whereas pessimism is related to the use of passive coping. Active coping is associated with low levels of pain, anxiety, depression and impairment and high levels of functioning. However, passive coping is related to high levels of pain, anxiety, depression and impairment and low levels of functioning. The hypothetical model was empirically tested using the LISREL 8.20 software package and the unweighted least squares method. The results support the hypotheses formulated regarding the relations among optimism, pessimism, coping and adjust of chronic pain patients. By analysing optimism among chronic pain patients, clinicians could make better predictions regarding coping and adjustment.

Este trabajo analiza la relación entre el optimismo y pesimismo disposicional del paciente con dolor crónico y las estrategias de afrontamiento que utiliza. De igual forma, se estudia el efecto del tipo de afrontamiento sobre la adaptación del paciente a su dolor. Participaron 98 pacientes con dolor crónico heterogéneo. Los instrumentos de medida utilizados han sido: Test de Orientación Vital (LOT), Inventario Vanderbilt de afrontamiento al Dolor (VPMI), Cuestionario McGill de Dolor (MPQ), Escala Hospitalaria de Ansiedad y Depresión (HADS), y el Inventario de Deterioro y Funcionamiento para pacientes con dolor crónico (IDF). En el modelo hipotético se establecen relaciones entre el optimismo y el uso de estrategias activas de afrontamiento, mientras que el pesimismo se relaciona con las estrategias pasivas. A su vez, se establecen relaciones entre las estrategias activas y menores niveles de dolor percibido, baja depresión, ansiedad y deterioro y mayor nivel de funcionamiento, relacionándose las estrategias pasivas con altos niveles de dolor, ansiedad, depresión y deterioro y con bajos de funcionamiento diario. Este modelo hipotético fue contrastado empíricamente a través del programa LISREL 8.20. y el método de mínimos cuadrados no ponderados. Los resultados apoyan las hipótesis formuladas.

Corresponding author
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Carmen Ramírez-Maestre, Departamento de Personalidad, Evaluación y Tratamiento Psicológico, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de Málaga, Campus de Teatinos, 29071 Málaga (Spain). Phone: +34 952132649. Fax: +34 952132425. E-mail:
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