Aims: To determine psychosocial predictors of patients ratings of satisfaction with improvement and subjective pain relief. This study also examined the underlying components of patient satisfaction with improvement, as assessed at follow-up. Methods: The sample consisted of 107 chronic orofacial pain patients evaluated at a university-based orofacial pain clinic and referred for treatment with individualized treatment plans. Pain and psychosocial functioning were assessed with standard, reliable, validated self-report instruments administered at the initial evaluation. Follow-up data were collected via a telephone-administered structured interview 8 months after the initial evaluation. Regression methodology was used to determine prediction models for satisfaction with improvement and subjective pain relief. Patient ratings of the quality of the caregiver communication were used as a control variable in all analyses. Results: Quality of caregiver communication predicted approximately 10 to 14% of the variance in outcomes in all models. Greater initial use of cognitive coping strategies and reduced depression predicted higher ratings of satisfaction with improvement and increased pain relief. When concurrent relationships among variables at the follow-up were examined, greater subjective pain relief since the evaluation, lower current pain, and higher ratings of overall mood were significant predictors of patient satisfaction with improvement. Conclusion: This study is one of the first to report that the use of certain cognitive coping strategies is associated with positive outcome for patients suffering from orofacial pain. These findings underscore the importance of individual differences on behavioral and psychosocial parameters in the prediction of patients subjective evaluation of treatment outcome. J OROFAC PAIN 2001;15:29-35.
Key words: orofacial pain, patient satisfaction, treatment outcome, psychological adaptation, psychological distress