The role of coping in adjustment to phantom limb pain

A Hill, C A Niven, C Knussen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


Research has indicated that the way individuals cope with pain may influence pain, and physical and psychological adjustment. The present study assessed the relationship between coping strategy use and adjustment in amputees with phantom limb pain (PLP). Coping strategies were measured using the Coping Strategies Questionnaire (CSQ) and their relationship with adjustment was examined using both composite scores and individual strategy scores. The results indicated that the relationship between coping and adjustment was primarily explained by the use of strategies within the ‘Helplessness’ factor of the CSQ. A clearer picture of coping strategy use was gained from examining individual strategies rather than the composite measures. Catastrophizing explained the largest proportion of variance in pain report (26%), while increasing behavioral activity and hoping or praying strategies explained a smaller proportion of the variance (3% and 1%, respectively). Catastrophizing also explained a large proportion of the variance in physical and psychosocial dysfunction (11% and 22%), while hoping or praying strategies accounted for only a small proportion of the variance in physical dysfunction (3%), and re-interpreting pain sensations accounted for a small proportion of the variance in psychosocial dysfunction (3%). The findings in this study have important clinical implications in that coping strategy use was associated with increased, rather than decreased, levels of pain and disability. However, since the reported use of coping strategies in the present study was low, further research, perhaps utilizing other measures of coping, is required to clarify these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1995


  • phantom limb pain
  • disability
  • coping strategies questionnaire
  • adjustment


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of coping in adjustment to phantom limb pain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this