Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Psychological and Quantitative Foundations

First Advisor

Altmaier, Elizabeth M

First Committee Member

Stormoen, Doris J

Second Committee Member

Brennan, Tim J

Third Committee Member

Ansley, Timothy N

Fourth Committee Member

Ali, Saba R


This study sought to provide a description of the psychosocial profile of persons with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). CRPS is an excruciatingly painful and debilitating condition that is poorly understood by medical professionals. Its profound impact on an individual's quality of life prompts a closer examination of the psychosocial profile of individuals suffering from CRPS. The extant literature examining psychological variables associated with CRPS is inconclusive with regard to the role that these factors play in the course of the syndrome. It has been shown, however, that CRPS patients suffer tremendous physical discomfort and this is often reflected in increased emotional distress. The present study assesses level of pain, anxiety, depression, disability, intrusive thoughts, quality of life, and demographic variables utilizing a national sample obtained from an online survey distributed to members of an organization that provides resources to CRPS patients. Descriptive data are presented for all data gathered and specific correlates of quality of life were examined. Results of the study demonstrated that this sample endorsed high levels of anxiety and depression and reported low levels of both physical and mental quality of life. When compared to normative data, this sample endorsed more pain and anxiety than other pain populations and also endorsed lower mental and physical quality of life than other pain conditions. The psychosocial profile of individuals with CRPS type I did not vary significantly from individuals with type II. Intrusive thoughts were uniquely predictive of disability, physical quality of life, and mental quality of life after controlling for age, gender, and pain level. The role of intrusive thoughts in predicting disability and quality of life suggests a potential mechanism by which clinicians can target psychotherapeutic treatment. Understanding the psychosocial profile and psychological sequelae of this disorder will help both physicians and psychologists understand the impact of CRPS on patients and provide a pathway for improved comprehensive interdisciplinary treatments.


Chronic Pain, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Quality of Life


viii, 109 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 101-109).


Copyright 2011 Jessica Ann Lohnberg