Illness Representations and Quality of Life in Patients Suffering From a Chronic Pain Condition and Chronic Patients Without Pain: Similarities and Differences
V. Vasileiou1, M. Flouri2, O Kasinopoulos1, M. Stavrinaki1, M. Siamata1, D. Hadjikyriacou1, S. Papakostas3, M. Karekla1, E. Karademas2
1University of Cyprus, Department of Psychology, Cyprus
2University of Crete, Department of Psychology, Greece
3Institute of Neurology and Genetics, Cyprus
Background: ALGEA, the Greek word for suffering, is a joint research effort developed by the Universities of Cyprus and Crete in order to examine the quality of life in patients with a chronic pain condition and develop an intervention program based on ACT. Here, we report some preliminary results that refer to differences in illness perception and quality of life between patients suffering from chronic pain and patients suffering from a chronic condition not involving pain. Methods: 70 patients suffering from pain (mostly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis) and 70 patients suffering from a cardiovascular disease participated in this cross-sectional study. Results: Only tentative differences were noticed in terms of quality of life, between the two groups of patients. However, patients with chronic pain perceived their health condition as more inconsistent and unpredictable. Also, in this group of patients, the perception of illness seemed to play a less central role for quality of life compared to patients with no pain. Discussion: Patients suffering from chronic pain face unique challenges which should be taken into consideration in the implementation of intervention programs.