Pain catastrophizing and pain persistence in temporomandibular disorder patients

Shoshana Reiter*, Ilana Eli, Maria Mahameed, Alona Emodi-Perlman, Pessia Friedman-Rubin, Maya A. Reiter, Ephraim Winocur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Aims: To describe pain catastrophizing in temporomandibular disorder (TMD) patients in relation to disability and pain persistence. Methods: A total of 163 TMD patients underwent a complete TMD evaluation according to the Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (DC/TMD), including the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS). Patients were divided into subgroups according to their PCS, Graded Chronic Pain Scale (GCPS), and pain persistence scores. The GCPS and pain persistence subgroups were assigned as dependent variables in a stepwise multiple logistic regression model. The ability of the DC/TMD Axis II parameters and of the PCS to discriminate between patients of low and high disability (according to the GCPS) and low and high pain persistence were examined using area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. α < .05 was considered to reflect statistical significance. Results: Significant differences were found between high and low pain catastrophizing patients as to socioeconomic parameter, Axis I diagnoses, pain persistence, and Axis II evaluation. The parameters with significant discriminant ability for pain persistence were pain catastrophizing, depression, and nonspecific physical symptoms, with no significant differences between them. Depression increased the odds of high disability by 1.2, while pain catastrophizing increased the odds for high pain persistence more than 6-fold. Pain catastrophizing was not significantly associated with pain disability, and depression was not significantly associated with pain persistence. Conclusion: High-pain catastrophizing TMD patients were similar to patients with other chronic pain conditions, but differed from TMD patients as a group. The findings of this study support the addition of an assessment for pain catastrophizing to the DC/TMD for early identification of TMD patients who might be at higher risk for developing chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-320
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Oral and Facial Pain and Headache
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018


  • DC/TMD
  • Pain catastrophizing
  • Pain persistence
  • Temporomandibular disorders


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