Associations of pain catastrophizing with pain-related brain structure in individuals with or at risk for knee osteoarthritis: Sociodemographic considerations

Academic Article


  • Compelling evidence exists that non-Hispanic blacks (NHB) engage in pain catastrophizing (negatively evaluate one’s ability to cope with pain) more often than non-Hispanic whites (NHW). Functional neuroimaging studies revealed that individuals with high levels of trait pain catastrophizing show increased cerebral responses to pain in several pain-related brain regions (e.g., insula, primary somatosensory cortex [S1]), but associations between brain structure and catastrophizing remain largely unexplored. The current investigation was conducted at the University of Florida and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Participants were 129 community-dwelling adults with or at risk of knee osteoarthritis (OA). Participants completed the pain catastrophizing subscale of the Coping Strategies Questionnaire-Revised and the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain intensity subscale. Magnetic Resonance Imaging data were obtained. MANOVA and Chi-Square analyses assessed sociodemographic/clinical differences stratified by ethnicity/race. Multivariate regression analyses with insula and somatosensory cortical thickness entered as dependent variables with catastrophizing and the interaction between catastrophizing and ethnicity/race as the independent variables. Covariates include education, body mass index, study site, and WOMAC pain (ethnicity/race was an additional covariate in non-stratified analyses). There were significant interactions between ethnicity/race, pain catastrophizing, and brain structure. Higher pain catastrophizing was associated with thinner S1 bilaterally (ps <.05) in NHW, but not NHB participants with or at risk for knee OA. These results suggest that pain catastrophizing might have differing effects on pain-related central pathways and may contribute to ethnic/race group differences in individuals with or at risk for knee OA.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 14940921
  • Author List

  • Terry EL; Tanner JJ; Cardoso JS; Sibille KT; Lai S; Deshpande H; Deutsch G; Goodin BR; Bradley LA; Price CC
  • Start Page

  • 1769
  • End Page

  • 1777
  • Volume

  • 15
  • Issue

  • 4