The associations between executive functions and different aspects of perceived pain, beyond the influence of depression, in rehabilitation setting

Odelia Elkana, Yael Conti, Ofir Heyman, Sami Hamdan, Motty Franko, Jean Jacques Vatine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We investigated the relations between several aspects of Perceived Pain (PP) and different measurements of Executive Functions (EFs), above the influence of depression, in the context of medical rehabilitation. Eighty-one neurologically intact patients participated in this study in their sub-acute stage of recovery. Different aspects of EFs were assessed using the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), the Stop-Signal Test (SST) and the Digit Span Backward subtest of the WAIS-III (Span-B). Different aspects of PP were measured: Pain Disability Index (PDI), The Short-Form McGill Questionnaire (SF-MPQ) and the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS). Depression symptoms were assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire. The results indicate that irrespective of the presence of depression, mental flexibility is correlated with pain disability and pain severity (WSCT–PDI partial correlation: r = −.23; p=.047, WSCT–SF-MPQ partial correlation: r = −.31; p =.006). Response inhibition is correlated with pain disability (SST–PDI partial correlation: r =.37; p =.001). Updating was not correlated with any of the PP aspects. These results remain much the same after removing the chronic pain patients from the analyses. The present study emphasizes the multidimensional nature of the term “perceived pain”, as well as the term “executive functions”, and the relations between them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1303-1317
Number of pages15
JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
Volume30
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 8 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Executive functions
  • Mental flexibility
  • Pain perception
  • Perceived pain
  • Response inhibition
  • Updating

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