Just world beliefs moderate the relationship of pain intensity and disability with psychological distress in chronic pain support group members

Joanna L. McParland, Christina Knussen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The impact of pain beliefs on coping and adjustment is well established. However, less is known about how beliefs unrelated to pain might impact upon this experience. In particular, just world beliefs could impact upon and be influenced by chronic pain, given that pain is not experienced in a vacuum but instead is experienced in a social context where justice issues are potentially salient. The focus of this study was the ability of personal and general just world beliefs to moderate the relationships psychological distress held with pain intensity and disability in chronic pain. The sample (N = 95) was recruited from members of arthritis and fibromyalgia support groups to investigate these social beliefs in a controlled community pain context. A cross-sectional, questionnaire design was adopted. The personal just world belief was endorsed significantly more than the general just world belief, and endorsement of the personal just world belief was negatively correlated with pain intensity, disability and psychological distress, while the general just world belief was unrelated to these variables. When interaction terms relating to personal and general just world beliefs were entered simultaneously into regression analyses, the personal just world belief did not predict psychological distress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-76
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010



  • pain intensity
  • psychology
  • disability
  • pain perception

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