Motivational correlates of self-reported persistent pain in young adults

Paul Karoly, Len Lecci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: We sought to illustrate that personal goals can provide a meaningful context within which to interpret physical pain and that persistent (nonclinical) pain correlates with dysfunctional goal evaluation for young adults. Design: A total of 127 college students reporting either no pain or persistent physical pain completed the Goal System Assessment Battery, a set of questionnaires designed to gauge stable and accessible representations of self-regulated goal pursuit. Results: The results supported the general contention that persons experiencing persistent pain (at subclinical levels) tend to evaluate their important life goals in a 'problematic' fashion. Specifically, the presence of persistent pain was associated with lower ratings of self-efficacy, self monitoring, self- reward, and less positive arousal. Conclusions: The pattern of goal construal produced by this young and generally healthy group of college students reflects cognitive motivational dysfunctions possibly presaging pain-schemes in later life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-109
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Journal of Pain
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 26 1997


  • Cognitive evaluation
  • Goals
  • Motivation
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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