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Dezutter, Jessie; Offenbaecher, Martin; Vallejo, Miguel A.; Vanhooren, Siebrecht; Thauvoye, Evalyne and Toussaint, Loren (2016): Chronic pain care: The importance of a biopsychosocial-existential approach. In: International Journal of Psychiatry In Medicine, Vol. 51, No. 6: pp. 563-575

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Abstract

Objective: Experiencing pain not only affects patients' biopsychosocial functioning but also the existential domain. Attention to the existential, in addition to the biopsychosocial domains, might thus be important in chronic pain care. Therefore, we investigated: (a) how satisfied patients were with the attention of their practitioners to the impact of pain on biological, psychological, social, and existential life domains, and (b) how satisfaction with each domain was related to patient functioning. Method: Pain patients (N=163) were questioned on their satisfaction with the attention of their practitioners to biological, psychological, social, and existential life domains, and on pain intensity, pain disability, life satisfaction, and depressive symptoms. Results: Patients reported low satisfaction with the attention of their practitioners to the social and existential domains. Satisfaction with each domain was negatively related with pain intensity, pain disability, and depressive symptoms and positively related with life satisfaction. Only satisfaction with the existential domain was able to predict all functional outcomes above and beyond all other satisfaction variables modeled simultaneously. Conclusions: Patients reported not feeling satisfied with the attention to the social and existential life domains. Furthermore, practitioners' attention to the existential domain seems highly important for patient functioning. Openness to existential concerns of pain patients might thus be an important aspect of chronic pain care.

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