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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Living with spinal cord injury : examining the role of daily mood regulation, social support, and catastrophizing in pain Lam, Mark Ming-Wah


Spinal cord injury (SCI) and the subsequent events resulting from such a life-altering event can present a host of impairments, stressors and challenges in many aspects of one’s life. Of the stressors and medical complications found in SCI, pain has been reported to be the most frequent and disabling condition that affects activities of daily living and social life for those living with SCI. Using an intensive longitudinal design, the current line of research examined the ways in which mood regulation, social support, and catastrophizing affect the experience of pain in a sample of 87 individuals with SCI. Following an initial interview, participants completed brief telephone interviews twice daily across five days. Hypotheses were tested using multilevel modeling, with daily measures nested within individuals. Study 1 examined the ways in which mood regulation impacted pain intensity both within and across days. Regulation of positive mood was found to prospectively predict decreases in pain intensity. In addition, an examination of gender differences revealed that some mood regulation processes significantly predicted changes in pain for women but not for men. Study 2 examined the moderating role of social support in the relationship between catastrophizing and pain. Perceptions of global support availability were found to buffer the deleterious effects of catastrophizing on pain. Specifically, catastrophizing was not significantly associated with subsequent changes in pain intensity for individuals perceiving high levels of support availability. For those with average or low levels of perceived support, catastrophizing prospectively predicted increases in pain. In addition, perceptions of critical responses from the support provider were also found to moderate the association between catastrophizing and pain. When perceptions of criticism were high, catastrophizing was found to prospectively predict increases in pain. In contrast, when perceptions of criticism were at average or below-average levels, catastrophizing was not significantly associated with pain. Taken together, findings from these studies may aid in designing effective interventions for managing pain in individuals with SCI, by tailoring programs to individual needs based on their particular strengths in mood regulation and including close others in determining the most appropriate ways in which to provide support.

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