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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 May 2023 - 19 May 2023

Psychology, Social Aspects

Human Studies


2023 May 15

J Pain


Pain control beliefs predict premature withdrawal from the labor market in workers with persistent pain: Prospective cohort study with 11-year register follow-up.


Vinstrup J, Bláfoss R, López-Bueno R, Calatayud J, Villadsen E, Clausen T, Doménech-García V, Andersen LL


While a range of work-related psychosocial factors have been associated with various pain disorders and early retirement, less is known about pain cognitions and their influence on premature exit from the labor market. Therefore, as a primary objective, this study investigates associations between pain control beliefs and risk of disability pension among Danish eldercare workers. In 2005, 2,257 female eldercare workers with low-back and/or neck/shoulder pain >90 days within the previous 12 months, replied to a survey and were followed for 11 years in a national register of social transfer payments. Using Cox-regression, we estimated the risk of disability pension during follow-up from experiencing different levels of ‘pain control’ and ‘pain influence’, controlling for pain intensity and other relevant confounders. In the fully-adjusted model for pain control with ‘high’ as reference, hazard ratios of 1.30 (95% CI 1.03-1.64) and 2.09 (95% CI 1.45-3.01) are observed for ‘moderate’ and ‘low’, respectively, while the metric of pain influence show hazard ratios of 1.43 (95% CI 1.11-1.87) and 2.10 (1.53-2.89), respectively. Pain control beliefs are associated with disability pension among eldercare workers with persistent pain. These results highlight the importance of evaluating not only bodily manifestations of pain, but also individual pain-related cognitions that may influence the experience of pain. PERSPECTIVE: This article addresses the complex experience of pain within an organizational context. We introduce the metrics of ‘pain control’ and ‘pain influence’ among workers with persistent pain, showing that the psychometric properties of these measures are prospectively associated with premature exit from the labor market.