State and trait pain catastrophizing and emotional health in rheumatoid arthritis

John A. Sturgeon, Alex J. Zautra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Background: Pain catastrophizing is a powerful predictor of pain adaptation, and both stable and time-varying aspects may influence overall emotional well-being. Purpose: This study aims to test the independent influences of state and trait pain catastrophizing on the relationship between daily intensity and negative affect, positive affect, and depressive symptoms. Methods: Daily diary data were collected for 30 days from a sample of 231 adults with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Results: State pain catastrophizing accounted for a significant proportion of the relationship between daily pain and each of the three examined daily outcomes. Greater trait pain catastrophizing significantly increased the effect of state pain catastrophizing on the relationship between pain intensity and the outcome variables in cross-sectional and time-lagged models. Conclusions: The results of the current study indicate that state pain catastrophizing plays a prominent role in the adaptation to daily pain fluctuations, particularly for those with a propensity to catastrophize.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-77
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Emotion
  • Pain catastrophizing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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