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Associations between pain coping and opioid use: One-month follow-up results of a prospective study in a cohort of traumatic injury patients

Jordan C. Smith, BS, Christopher R. Nicholas, PhD, Scott J. Hetzel, MS, Bri M. Deyo, MPH, Randall T. Brown, MD, PhD


Objective: To examine associations between Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) scores and daily opioid dosage in traumatic injury patients.

Design: This was a prospective cohort study with patient assessments at baseline and 1-month following discharge.

Setting: Study visits were conducted at a Regional Level I Trauma Center and by phone at follow-up.

Patients: Forty-nine injured inpatients completed baseline PCS. A subsample of 23 patients continued to take prescribed opioid medication at 1-month postdischarge and were included in the current analyses.

Main Outcome measured: Associations between baseline PCS and morphine equivalent daily dose (MEDD) at 1-month follow-up.

Results: Controlling for baseline MEDD, baseline PCS score was positively associated with MEDD at 1-month postdischarge (β = 0.577 [0.399, 1.535]; p = 0.002; R2 of PCS = 0.395).

Conclusions: In the current sample of traumatic injury inpatients, findings indicated that a baseline measure of pain catastrophizing predicts ongoing opioid medication use and dosage at 1-month postdischarge from an inpatient trauma unit.


opioids, pain catastrophizing, trauma, injury

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