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Hope in the context of chronic musculoskeletal pain: relationships of hope to pain and psychological distress

lower back pain

The cognitive model of hope suggests that people with high levels of hope are able to think about the ways to goals (pathways) and motivated to pursue those pathways to reach their goals (agency). We hypothesized that higher levels of hope would be related to lower levels of pain and less psychological distress (ie, anxiety and depression) and better adjustment.

Objectives: This study aims to examine the relationship, if any, between cognition of hope and chronic musculoskeletal pain. Methods: One hundred and six patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain were recruited by convenient sampling from 2 public hospitals in Hong Kong. We assessed the hope level, psychological distress, and health outcomes by psychometric inventories. Results: Zero-order correlation results showed that hope was inversely associated with psychological distress (ie, anxiety and depression) and positively related to subjective self-efficacy. There was no significant relationship with severity of pain. Patients presented with longer duration of chronic musculoskeletal pain have higher hope level while pain developed after injury on duty have lower hope level.

Conclusion: The findings of this cross-sectional study highlight the potential importance of hope in understanding adjustment to chronic musculoskeletal pain. Future longitudinal research could help reveal how hope and adjustment interact over the treatment of chronic pain cases.

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