Coping and Adaptation to Facial Pain in Contrast to Other Stressful Life Events

Mary Clare Lennon, Bruce P. Dohrenwend, Alex J. Zautra, Joseph J. Marbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


This article investigates whether coping with chronic pain influences adaptation to other negative life events using data on Temporomandibular Pain and Dysfunction Syndrome (TMPDS) patients (N = 99) and nonpatient controls (N = 98). It is found that cases cope very differently with pain than with other stressful events and that cases and controls do not differ on coping with nonpain events, with 2 exceptions. Cases view nonfateful events as more outside their control and they have more negative changes in usual activities following negative events. This excess of negative change is associated with greater demoralization and physical exhaustion. It is concluded that coping with repeated pain episodes leaves cases vulnerable to stressful events. Alternative interpretations, especially those involving the role of preexisting personality differences, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1040-1050
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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