PTSD and Emotional Distress Symptoms Measured after a Motor Vehicle Accident: Relationships with Pain Coping Profiles


This study explored differences among pain patients classified as Dysfunctional, Interpersonally Distressed, and Adaptive Copers on the Multidimensional Pain Inventory with respect to PTSD symptomatology, anxiety, and depression. Eighty-five patients with pain complaints who had experienced a serious motor vehicle accident were classified into these three pain coping categories and assessed using clinician and self-report measures. Results indicated that patients classified as Adaptive Copers (n = 24) showed less PTSD symptomatology, anxiety, and depressed mood, relative to individuals classified as Dysfunctional (n = 36) and as Interpersonally Distressed (n = 25), who did not differ on these dimensions. Emotional responses during the accident (fear, helplessness, danger, perceived control, and certainty that one would die) did not differentiate the groups. Pain profiles contributed to the prediction of self-reported PTSD symptoms, controlling for state anxiety. These data suggest that pain patients with both Dysfunctional and Interpersonally Distressed coping profiles are at elevated risk for a range of posttrauma problems following a serious motor vehicle accident.

Publication Title

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment