Health anxiety levels in chronic pain clinic attenders.
Rode S., Salkovskis P., Dowd H., Hanna M.
OBJECTIVE: An application of the cognitive-behavioural model of health anxiety (hypochondriasis) to chronic pain depends on the extent to which high levels of health anxiety occur in chronic pain, which has yet to be established. METHODS: The occurrence of health anxiety in consecutively recruited chronic pain patients (n=161) and nonclinical controls with (n=34) and without pain (n=70) was investigated using a questionnaire measure of health anxiety. RESULTS: Conservative figures estimated a frequency of 36.7% for hypochondriasis and 51.1% of severe and disabling health anxiety in the chronic pain sample. CONCLUSION: The current finding that high levels of health anxiety are indeed very common in chronic pain indicates the potential value of an application of the cognitive-behavioural health anxiety model to at least the subgroup of highly health-anxious chronic pain patients.