War veterans are at increased risk for chronic pain and co-occurring neurobehavioral problems, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, alcohol-related problems, and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Each condition is associated with disability, particularly when co-occurring. Pain acceptance is a strong predictor of lower levels of disability in chronic pain. This study examined whether acceptance of pain predicted current and future disability beyond the effects of these co-occurring conditions in war veterans. Eighty trauma-exposed veterans with chronic pain completed a PTSD diagnostic interview, clinician-administered mTBI screening, and self-report measures of disability, pain acceptance, depression, and alcohol use. Hierarchical regression models showed pain acceptance to be incrementally associated with disability after accounting for symptoms of PTSD, depression, alcohol-related problems, and mTBI (total adjusted R2=.57, p<.001, δR2=.03, p=.02). At 1-year follow-up, the total variance in disability accounted for by the model decreased (total adjusted R2=.29, p<.001), whereas the unique contribution of pain acceptance increased (δR2=.07, p=.008). Pain acceptance remained significantly associated with 1-year disability when pain severity was included in the model. Future research should evaluate treatments that address chronic pain acceptance and co-occurring conditions to promote functional recovery in the context of polytrauma in war veterans.
- Chronic pain
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health