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Date of Award

9-2013

Document Type

Campus Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Psychology; Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Rebecca E. Ready

Second Advisor

Richard Halgin

Third Advisor

William Matthews

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology

Abstract

Chronic pain (CP) is a public health concern affecting 15-25% of the population (Brennan, Carr, & Cousins, 2007) and is associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety, cognitive complaints and difficulties, and limitations in everyday life functioning (Lew et al., 2009; Menefee et al., 2000). Previous research has considered cognitive functioning in individuals with CP (Di Stefano & Radanov, 1995; Grigsby, Rosenberg, & Busenbark, 1995); however, little is known about disruptions on comprehensive computerized measures of attention, and the association of pain related psychological problems with attention dysfunction. The current study examined whether individuals with CP (N = 46) exhibit attention deficits relative to normative data and persons with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI; N = 46). The study also sought to determine whether psychological and pain-related symptoms (i.e., depression, anxiety, perceived psychosocial impairment, pain-related beliefs and behaviors) in individuals with CP are associated with attention functioning. Results indicated that CP and mTBI subjects performed significantly worse on the Integrated Visual and Auditory Continuous Performance Test (IVA+Plus CPT) relative to normative data. Further, psychological symptoms in CP were significant predictors (p < .05) of attention performance on the IVA+Plus, accounting for 23.7% of the variance in the attention index. Pain-related factors were not predictive of attention functioning. The findings shed light on attention difficulties in CP relative to mTBI and normative data and help explain the relationship between psychological symptoms and attention functioning in CP.

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