The role of illness uncertainty on coping with fibromyalgia symptoms

Lisa M. Johnson, Alex J. Zautra, Mary Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


This study examined the role of illness uncertainty in pain coping among women with fibromyalgia (FM), a chronic pain condition of unknown origin. Fifty-one FM participants completed initial demographic and illness uncertainty questionnaires and underwent 10-12 weekly interviews regarding pain, coping difficulty, and coping efficacy. Main outcome measures included weekly levels of difficulty coping with FM symptoms and coping efficacy. Multilevel analyses indicated that pain elevations for those high in illness uncertainty predicted increases in coping difficulty. Furthermore, when participants had more difficulty coping, they reported lower levels of coping efficacy. Results were consistent with hypothesized effects. Illness uncertainty accompanied by episodic pain negatively influenced coping efficacy, an important resource in adaptation to FM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-703
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Coping difficulty
  • Coping efficacy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Illness uncertainty
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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