Pain catastrophizing in youths with physical disabilities and chronic pain

Joyce M. Engel, Sylia Wilson, Susan T. Tran, Mark P. Jensen, Marcia A. Ciol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objective The current study examined the associations between catastrophizing and pain intensity, psychological adjustment, functional ability, and community participation in youths with physical disability and chronic pain. Methods Participants consisted of 80 youths, aged 8-20 years, with cerebral palsy (n = 34), neuromuscular disease (n = 22), or spina bifida (n = 24). Measures from a cross-sectional survey included demographic, pain, and disability information, the Pain Catastrophizing Scale, the Child Health Questionnaire, and the Functional Disability Inventory. Results Results suggested that catastrophizing was significantly associated with pain intensity and psychological adjustment; however, catastrophizing did not demonstrate significant associations with functional ability or community participation. Conclusions The study extends previous findings of significant associations between catastrophizing and both pain intensity and psychological adjustment to samples of youths with chronic pain and disabilities not previously examined. Further research that examines the causal association between catastrophizing and outcomes in youths with chronic pain and physical disability is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-201
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by grant PO1 HD33988, ‘‘Management of Chronic Pain in Rehabilitation,’’ from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research).


  • catastrophizing
  • chronic pain
  • functional ability
  • pain interference
  • physical disabilities
  • psychological adjustment


Dive into the research topics of 'Pain catastrophizing in youths with physical disabilities and chronic pain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this