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Meaning of chronic pain in situations of risk and routine situations to patients with depression

Tatyana Telbizova


Introduction: The individual response to pain in a specific situation has an influence on the meaning of chronic pain experiences.

Aim: The aim of the present study was to analyze the influence of both situations of risk and routine on the meaning of chronic pain to patients with depression.

Materials and Methods: The study included two groups of 16 patients with chronic pain and depression. Group 1 perceived the pain situation as a risk and Group 2—as a routine. The groups were assessed with: 1) quantitative methods: HAM-D-17, Spielberger’s questionnaire for state and trait anxiety degree and VAS; and 2) qualitative method—content analysis of the answers to the question “What does the pain mean to you?”.


The two samples had close mean ages, respectively 57.81 ± 13.63 (Group 1) and 54.88 ± 10.68 (Group 2). The share of women (87.5%) was predominant over that of men (12.5%). No significant differences were found in the mean values of the quantitative indicators between the groups. The content analysis revealed specific experiences of pain as a punishment, discomfort, and anxiety for Group 1, and as a part of life for Group 2.


Тhe way of perceiving the pain situation influences the meaning of chronic pain experiences in patients with depression. The combined assessment of the situation and specific pain experiences reveals information about the psychosocial functioning. It could be used as a method for picking out patients in need of psychotherapeutic and educational interventions aimed at accepting chronic pain as a part of life.


chronic pain experience, depression, situation, content analysis

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About The Author

Tatyana Telbizova
Medical University of Varna

Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, Faculty of Medicine

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