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Papers of the Week

Papers: 14 Nov 2020 - 20 Nov 2020


Human Studies

2020 Oct 22

Psychiatry Res


Anxiety sensitivity and pain intensity independently predict opioid misuse and dependence in chronic pain patients.


Smit T, Rogers AH, Garey L, Allan NP, Viana AG, Zvolensky MJ
Psychiatry Res. 2020 Oct 22; 294:113523.
PMID: 33189986.


The United States (US) population consumes an estimated 68% of the world's prescribed opioids each year, and over 2 million adults in the US suffer from an opioid use disorder. Although chronic pain populations are among the highest risk segments of the general population for opioid misuse and dependence, there is little understanding of individual risk characteristics that may contribute to greater risk for these outcomes among this group. The present investigation explored the concurrent role of anxiety sensitivity and pain intensity and their interaction in relation to opioid misuse and dependence among 429 adults with chronic pain (73.9% female, M = 38.32 years, SD = 11.07). Results revealed that both anxiety sensitivity and pain intensity were associated with opioid misuse and dependence. There was no evidence of an interaction for either outcome. Post-hoc analyses indicated that of the lower-order anxiety sensitivity facets, physical and mental incapacitation concerns contributed to variance in opioid misuse and only mental incapacitation concerns contributed to variance in opioid dependence. Overall, the current findings suggest the importance of assessing anxiety sensitivity in screening for opioid-related problems among persons with chronic pain, as it may represent a distinct pathway to poorer opioid-related outcomes among this group.