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Cognitive distortion and cognitive errors in depressed psychiatric and low back pain patients

Author(s): Lefebvre MF


Measured the tendency to make cognitive errors in 18 depressed psychiatric patients, 19 depressed low back pain (LBP) patients, 29 nondepressed LBP patients, and 23 nondepressed persons without LBP. Ss were administered 2 cognitive error questionnaires that focused in either general or LBP-related life experiences. These were designed to measure general cognitive distortion as well as 4 empirically derived dysphoric cognitive errors (catastrophizing, overgeneralization, personalization, and selective abstraction). Results indicate that all cognitive errors were endorsed significantly more strongly by depressed Ss with or without LBP. Although depressed LBP Ss made cognitive errors in interpreting many general experiences, they endorsed 3 out of 4 errors focused on LBP experiences significantly more strongly than depressed nonpain Ss. Findings suggest that depression in LBP patients is a function of both LBP and cognitive errors. Thus, cognitive therapy designed to correct cognitive errors may alleviate depression in LBP patients despite the persistence of pain. 

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