Pain Self-Management: Easier Said than Done? Factors Associated with Early Dropout from Pain Self-Management in a Rural Primary Care Population Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:To explore whether psychosocial or demographic factors are associated with early dropout from pain self-management in a rural, low-socioeconomic status population. DESIGN:Secondary analysis of retrospective data. SETTING:Multidisciplinary pain clinic located in an outer regional area of Australia. SUBJECTS:One hundred eighty-six people attending a public community health center with chronic noncancer pain (mean age 54.9 years; 58.1% women; 81.7% in receipt of government benefit as their primary source of income). METHODS:Bivariate analysis and logistic regression, with early dropout as the dependent variable and a range of demographic and psychological independent variables. RESULTS:Following bivariate analysis, early dropout was significantly associated (P < 0.05) with male gender, younger age, history of substance use, being a past victim of assault/abuse, receiving unemployment or disability benefit, having literacy difficulties, higher pain catastrophizing score, higher daily opioid dose, and not holding a multifactorial belief about the cause of pain. Logistic regression analysis resulted in three significant predictors of dropout: substance use history (P = 0.002), past victim of assault or abuse (P = 0.029), high pain catastrophising score (P = 0.048); and one of engagement: holding a multifactorial belief about pain cause (P = 0.005). CONCLUSIONS:In a rural, low-socioeconomic status population, addressing social stressors related to lifetime adversity may be important to increasing engagement in pain self-management. Lack of attention to these factors may increase health inequity among those most disabled by chronic pain. Further research into dropout and engagement, especially among disadvantaged populations, is recommended.

publication date

  • 2019