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The Mediating Role of Depression and Pain Catastrophizing in the Relationship between Functional Capacity and Pain Intensity in Patients with Fibromyalgia.

Background: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic musculoskeletal pain condition characterized by widespread pain, sleep problems (i.e., insomnia and unrefreshing sleep), fatigue, cognitive, and emotional difficulties. Although pain has been proposed the factor mostly impacting in the FMS patients' function, emotional and psychological FMS-associated factors are also known to exert a negative impact in quality of life and functional capacity. Nonetheless, the relationship between these factors and functional limitations in FMS patients is considered to be complex and not clearly defined. Therefore, the present study is aimed at assessing the associations between FMS functional capacity, FMS symptoms (pain, fatigue, insomnia, depression, and state and trait anxiety), and associated psychological factors such as pain catastrophizing, as well as the possible mediating role of these latter in the relationship between pain and FMS functional capacity.

Method: 115 women diagnoses with FMS completed a set of self-administered questionnaires to evaluate the clinical and psychological variables of the study.

Results: FMS functional capacity was positively associated with the majority of FMS symptoms except state anxiety. Regression analyses confirmed a greater prediction for FMS functional capacity by depression, fatigue, and pain catastrophizing, in this sequence. Both, pain catastrophizing and depression were important factors mediating the association between clinical pain (total and intensity) and FMS functional capacity.

Conclusions: Findings support a key role of pain catastrophizing and depression in the disability associated to pain in FMS. Treatment goals directed to lessen depression and pain catastrophizing levels should be promoted to reduce the impact of pain in FMS patients' daily function.

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