People with chronic pain face many challenges, including greater problems with physical health, higher risks of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, and increased rates of job disability. Traditional research on chronic pain has, perhaps understandably, focused on the many problems that chronic pain can cause.
However, focusing only on the problematic nature of chronic pain misses an important point: most people have important goals and interests that they want to pursue, even if they are suffering from chronic pain.
Research suggests that many continue to work, do not show high levels of depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric problems, and lead satisfying and fulfilling lives, despite the presence of a chronic pain condition. They are resilient.
My colleagues and I at Stanford University are seeking to understand how some people are still able to function at a high level, despite having chronic pain.
We believe that resilient individuals may interpret the meaning of pain differently, may behave differently when they are in pain, and may have different emotional responses to pain — all of which help them to remain healthy and functional.
By understanding resilience in chronic pain, we hope to identify and treat others who may be struggling with their own pain.
The Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Laboratory (SNAPL) is currently looking for people with chronic pain to complete an anonymous online survey, to help better understand how people cope with their pain conditions and how to better meet their needs.
Participation in this study involves answering multiple-choice questions about beliefs about pain and strategies for dealing with pain. The best questions will be included in a new questionnaire that will help with future assessment and treatment of chronic pain.
Participation takes between 30 and 60 minutes. In appreciation for completing the survey, the researchers are offering a $5.00 Starbucks gift card.
If you are interested in completing this online survey, it can be accessed using the following Internet link: https://redcap.stanford.edu/surveys/?s=hRgMcfpUwr.
(Editor’s update: The Stanford researchers have indicated they have received a sufficient number of responses to their survey. At this time, they are in need of no additional ones, but thank you for your interest.)
Alternatively, you can ask to be sent a survey link by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (650) 724-8783.
Dr. Drew Sturgeon is a postdoctoral pain psychology fellow in the Stanford University Pain Management Center and Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Laboratory.
He has published articles in the areas of psychological interventions for chronic pain, pain catastrophizing, and resilience in people with chronic pain. He remains active in the evaluation and treatment of chronic pain, and has continued a line of research in the evaluation and promotion of resilience in chronic pain.