The role of catastrophising in rheumatic diseases

Sheera F. Lerman, Jennifer A. Haythornthwaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Pain is a common and debilitating symptom of many rheumatic diseases. Decades of research have shown that psychological factors are critical in shaping the experience of acute and chronic pain. The current review focuses on pain catastrophising, a cognitive and emotional response to pain, and its implication for the assessment and treatment of individuals with rheumatic diseases. Catastrophising is one of the most salient psychosocial predictors of a host of pain-related outcomes including heightened disability and depression, increased use of opioids, reduced response to treatment and increased chance of long-term postoperative pain. Despite being stable without treatment, catastrophising can be reduced though psychological and non-psychological interventions. Mechanisms of action including physiological, cognitive-behavioural, and social routes are discussed and a comprehensive developmental model of the combined effects of catastrophising, its biological effects and pain is suggested. Identifying patients at risk for poor outcomes through the assessment of catastrophising could enable providers to individually tailor treatment plans and improve clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S32-S36
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2017


  • Catastrophising
  • Coping
  • Pain
  • Rheumatic diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of catastrophising in rheumatic diseases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this