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The role of illness uncertainty in coping with Fibromyalgia symptoms

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By LM Johnson, et al • • December 6, 2006

Journal: Health Psychology. 2006 Nov;25(6):696-703. Authors and affiliation: Johnson LM, Zautra AJ, Davis MC. Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA. [E-mail: ] PMID: 17100498

This study examined the role of illness uncertainty in pain coping among women with Fibromyalgia (FM), a chronic pain condition of unknown origin. Fifty-one FM participants completed initial demographic and illness uncertainty questionnaires and underwent 10 to 12 weekly interviews regarding pain, coping difficulty, and coping efficacy.

Main outcome measures included weekly levels of difficulty coping with FM symptoms and coping efficacy. Multilevel analyses indicated that pain elevations for those high in illness uncertainty predicted increases in coping difficulty. Furthermore, when participants had more difficulty coping, they reported lower levels of coping efficacy.

Results were consistent with hypothesized effects. Illness uncertainty accompanied by episodic pain negatively influenced coping efficacy, an important resource in adaptation to FM.

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