Differences in temporal discounting in an online sample of people with chronic pain and controls

  • G. McMillan
  • D. Dixon


Background Decision-making in chronic pain (CP) is difficult as pain decreases self-control required for deliberative decision-making leading to increases in temporal discounting, a decision-making bias. A recent study found that people with CP and high opioid discount more than people with CP and no opioid use in both monetary and pain-related decisions. This study will compare temporal discounting in people with CP and controls as this has never been examined. Methods The study is quasi-experimental between-subjects design. 110 participants recruited online will complete the Chronic Pain Grade Scale, Self-regulatory Fatigue Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Pain Catastrophizing Scale and Pain Self-efficacy Questionnaire. Temporal discounting will be calculated by the proportion of choices where self-control was used for monetary gains and losses, pain relief and additional pain. ANOVAs will be conducted for each temporal discounting measure to determine differences in self-control between CP group and controls. Multivariate linear regression will be conducted to determine the relationship of pain, self-regulatory fatigue, pain catastrophizing, pain self-efficacy and depression and anxiety to self-control. Expected Results It is expected that the CP group will discount more steeply than controls and higher levels of pain, self-regulatory fatigue, pain catastrophizing, anxiety, depression and lower pain self-efficacy will predict increased discounting. Current Stage of Work The study is in the data collection phase. Data has been collected from 66 participants. Discussion Examining temporal discounting in controls and CP groups is vital to understand the extent of self-regulatory deficits in CP.
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