Aims: To examine the psychometric characteristics of a measure of self-efficacy for managing temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and to determine whether scores on this measure were related to pain, disability, and psychological distress in patients with chronic TMD pain. Methods: Patients seeking treatment for chronic TMD pain (n = 156, 87% female, mean age = 37 years) completed measures assessing pain, disability, mental health, pain-coping strategies, and self-efficacy for managing their pain. Results: The self-efficacy measure, which was adapted from arthritis research, demonstrated good psychometric characteristics (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.91, minimal floor and ceiling effects, and validity). Greater self-efficacy was associated with significantly (P < .05) lower levels of pain, disability, and psychological distress. Self-efficacy remained significantly associated with disability and mental health measures even after controlling for demographic variables and pain intensity. In addition, patients with higher self-efficacy reported significantly (P < .05) greater use of an active, adaptive chronic pain-coping strategy (task persistence) and less use of a passive, maladaptive chronic pain-coping strategy (rest). Conclusion: Self-efficacy for managing pain appears to be important in the adjustment of patients with chronic TMD pain. Research is needed to determine whether treatments designed to increase self-efficacy improve TMD patient outcomes.
J OROFAC PAIN 2006;20:115–124
Key words: chronic pain, coping strategies, disability, self-efficacy, temporomandibular disorders