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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01932

Multisystem Resiliency as a Predictor of Physical and Psychological Functioning in Older Adults with Chronic Low Back Pain

  • 1University of Florida, United States

Evidence supports the benefits of resilience among older adults with chronic pain. While numerous factors confer resilience, research has largely examined these measures in isolation, despite evidence of their synergistic effects. Conceptualizing resilience from a multisystem perspective may provide a deeper understanding of adaptive functioning in pain. Sixty adults (ages 60+ years) with chronic low back pain completed measures of physical function, pain intensity, disability, and a performance-based task assessing back-related physical functioning and movement-evoked pain. Depressive symptoms, quality of life, and general resilience were also evaluated. To examine multisystem resiliency, principal components analysis was conducted to create composite domains for psychological (positive affect, hope, positive well-being, optimism), health (waist-hip ratio, body mass index, medical comorbidities), and social (emotional, instrumental, informational support) functioning measures, followed by cluster analysis to identify participant subgroups based upon composites. Results yielded four clusters: Cluster 1 (high levels of functioning across psychological, health, and social support domains); Cluster 2 (optimal health, low psychosocial functioning); Cluster 3 (high psychological function, moderate-to-high social support, poorer health); and Cluster 4 (low levels of functioning across the three domains). Controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, individuals with a more resilient phenotype (Cluster 1) exhibited lower levels of disability, higher quality of life and psychological functioning, and greater functional performance when compared to those with a lower degree of personal resources (Cluster 4). No significant cluster differences emerged in self-reported pain intensity or movement-evoked pain. These findings signify the presence of resiliency profiles based upon psychological, social, and health-related functioning. Further examination of the additive effects of multiple adaptive behaviors and resources may improve our understanding of resilience in the context of pain, informing novel interventions for older adults.

Keywords: resilience, Multisystem, Low Back Pain, Aging, psychological, Health, social support

Received: 17 May 2019; Accepted: 06 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Bartley, Palit, Fillingim and Robinson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Emily J. Bartley, University of Florida, Gainesville, United States,