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Examining Psychosocial Mechanisms of Pain-Related Disability in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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Disability in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is under-investigated. Models theorize that disability is the result of a disease and its related impairments, limitations, and restrictions. This disablement process can be affected by psychosocial factors. Pain, depression, catastrophizing, and social support are associated with IBD-disability outcomes, but no studies have examined these factors concurrently. This study examined the role of psychosocial factors in the process of IBD disablement within the context of pain. Depressive symptoms, pain catastrophizing, and perceived social support were proposed as mediators in the relationship between pain and pain-related disability in cross-sectional and longitudinal models. Cross-sectionally, the mediation effects of depressive symptoms and pain catastrophizing, but not perceived social support, were significant. Longitudinally, depression was a significant mediator. Depressive symptoms and pain catastrophizing have mechanistic roles in the relationship between IBD patients’ pain and pain-related disability and should be targets for intervention.

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This research was funded by Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.

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Correspondence to Katherine M. Fretz.

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Authors Katherine M. Fretz, Dean A. Tripp, Laura Katz, Mark Ropeleski, and Michael J. Beyak declare that they have no conflict of interest to disclose.

Research Involving Human Participants

All procedures performed in the study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research ethics board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Fretz, K.M., Tripp, D.A., Katz, L. et al. Examining Psychosocial Mechanisms of Pain-Related Disability in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. J Clin Psychol Med Settings 27, 107–114 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10880-019-09627-1

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  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Pain
  • Pain-related disability
  • Biopsychosocial factors