Pain. 1987 Mar; 28(3): 323-41.
Cognitive orientation as predictor of pain relief following acupuncture.
The study investigated the role of beliefs concerning pain relief after treatment. Following the cognitive orientation theory, we hypothesized that beliefs concerning goals, norms, oneself, and general beliefs would predict the extent of improvement following acupuncture. Subjects were 30 Israeli chronic-pain patients (22 women, 8 men; mean age 41.6 years). They were administered a questionnaire assessing the 4 belief types, and control measures assessing personality traits, demographic variables, and pain characteristics. All underwent 4-6 acupuncture sessions. Improvement was determined by patient and physician ratings, and an index based on medication, subjective evaluations, and duration of resting. There were two follow-ups. Three improvement groups were defined: none (n = 8), slight (n = 12), and high (n = 10). These groups did not differ on any of the variables tested except the 4 belief types. A discriminant analysis with belief types as predictors enabled correct classification of the patients in 83% of the cases. A stepwise regression analysis showed that beliefs accounted for 85% of the variance. Discussion focuses on the nature of pain relief and the role of beliefs in disease.