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  • 1.
    Baylis, Rebecca
    et al.
    Uppsala University Hospital, Uppsala.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology and Social Work.
    Haines, Helen
    University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
    Rubertsson, Christine
    Uppsala University Hospital, Uppsala; Lund University, Lund.
    Women's experiences of internet-delivered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (iCBT) for Fear of Birth2019In: Women and Birth, ISSN 1871-5192, E-ISSN 1878-1799Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Fear of Birth is common in pregnant women and associated with negative physical and mental health. There is a clear comorbidity with anxiety and depression. Internet-delivered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy has been suggested as a treatment option for Fear of Birth and a randomized controlled trial comparing internet-delivered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy with midwifery led counselling as standard care has been conducted. Objective: The aim of this study was to describe women's experiences of guided internet-delivered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Fear of Birth and to describe the content of their fear. Methods: The present study is a qualitative, follow-up interview study following the randomized controlled trial, the U-CARE Pregnancy Trial. In total 19 women allocated to internet-delivered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Fear of Birth were interviewed by telephone. A semi-structured interview guide was used and the transcripts were analyzed with thematic analysis. Results: The women's descriptions of Fear of Birth differed, however their fear was most often associated with fear of losing control, fear for the baby's life or health or own life threatening events. The experiences of internet-delivered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Fear of Birth varied, some women were positive to its flexibility although most women preferred a face-to face meeting. The treatment did not pin-point their fears, it was challenging to maintain motivation and to work with the treatment in solitude. Conclusions: Women's descriptions of Fear of Birth varied. Most women undergoing internet-delivered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy would have preferred a face-to-face meeting which they imagined would have soothed their fear. Internet-delivered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Fear of Birth may be an alternative for some women. 

  • 2.
    Bjärtå, Anna
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Leiler, Anna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Ekdahl, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Wasteson, Elisabet
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Assessing Severity of Psychological Distress Among Refugees With the Refugee Health Screener, 13-Item Version2018In: Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, ISSN 0022-3018, E-ISSN 1539-736X, Vol. 206, no 11, p. 834-839Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The recent inflow of refugees to Sweden has put pressure on health care as well as revealing a need for methods regarding assessment of refugees' mental health status. The present study investigated the use of the Refugee Health Screener (RHS; Hollifield et al., 2013) to distinguish among severity levels of symptoms of psychological distress in refugees. Refugees residing in asylum accommodations (n = 510) were screened with RHS-13, together with screeners for depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Risk for mild, moderate, or severe levels of depression, anxiety, or/and PTSD was used as screening proxy. Receiver operating characteristic analysis rendered cutoff scores of 11, 18, and 25, for mild, moderate, and severe symptoms, respectively. Evaluated against each symptom scale separately, cutoffs performed well. Cutoff 11, previously identified by Hollifield et al. (2016), was also confirmed. However, utilization of additional cutoffs could improve refugee mental health by guiding clinical decision making.

  • 3.
    Ekdahl, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Sexualitet och sexuella problem: bedömning och behandling enligt KBT2017 (ed. 1:1)Book (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Ekdahl, Johanna
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Flink, Ida
    Örebro Universitet.
    Engman, Linnea
    Örebro Universitet.
    Linton, Steven James
    Örebro Universitet.
    Vulvovaginal pain from a fear-avoidance perspective: a prospective study among female university students in Sweden2018In: International Journal of Sexual Health, ISSN 1931-7611, E-ISSN 1931-762X, Vol. 30, no 1, p. 49-59Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objectives: To examine how fear-avoidance influences vulvovaginal pain and sexual function over time.

    Method: At baseline and at 10-month follow-up, self-report measures for sexual- and fear avoidance factors were obtained from 483 female university students with and without self-reported vulvovaginal pain.

    Results: individuals with pain at both times reported lower sexual function, and higher levels of fear-avoidance compared to the pain-free group. Fear-avoidance beliefs predicted the occurrence of vulvovaginal pain at follow up and the level of pain intensity.

    Conclusion: The results points to the relevance of the components of the fear-avoidance model in vulvovaginal pain over time.

  • 5.
    Elmerstig, Eva
    et al.
    Malmö Högskola.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Vulvar pain: associations between first-time vaginal intercourse, tampon insertion and later experiences of pain2016In: Journal of sex & marital therapy, ISSN 0092-623X, E-ISSN 1521-0715, Vol. 42, no 8, p. 707-720Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study examines associations between the first experience ofvaginal intercourse/tampon insertion and later experiences of vul-var pain. The study is based on questionnaire data from 1,259Swedish female senior high-school students, aged 18 to 22 yearsold. Of these, 592 women reported present vulvar pain. Presentvulvar pain was associated with first-time experiences of vaginalintercourse (pain, negative experience, against will) and with painat tampon insertion. First-time experiences were also related totemporal aspects of present vulvar pain during vaginal intercourse(at the beginning, after a while during, and after). Implications offirst-time experiences of vaginal intercourse for future symptomsof vulvar pain are discussed.

  • 6.
    Engman, Linnea
    et al.
    Örebro University.
    Flink, Ida
    Örebro University.
    Ekdahl, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Boersma, Katja
    Örebro University.
    Linton, S.J.
    Örebro University.
    Avoiding or enduring painful sex?: A prospective study of coping and psychosexual function in vulvovaginal pain2018In: European Journal of Pain, ISSN 1090-3801, E-ISSN 1532-2149, Vol. 22, no 8, p. 1388-1398Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background

    Recurring vulvovaginal pain is common, with evident effects on affected women's lives. Little is known about how affected women cope with painful sexual activities and how coping relates to pain intensity and psychosexual functioning over time. This prospective study explored the impact of avoidance and endurance on sexual function over time. Additionally, patterns of coping were studied on an individual level to increase knowledge about coping and its relation to psychosexual functioning.

    Methods

    One hundred and seventeen women, 18–35 years old, with recurring vulvovaginal pain answered questionnaires at two measurement points, five months apart, assessing avoidance and endurance coping, pain intensity and psychosexual functioning. A multiple regression model explored the predictive value of avoidance and endurance on sexual function over time. Cluster analyses investigated patterns of coping and stability within the clusters. These subgroups were compared on psychosexual outcomes.

    Results

    Avoidance at baseline was the only significant predictor of sexual function five months later. Distinct and stable subgroups with different patterns of coping were identified, where avoidance and endurance coping were used both separately and combined. Women who both avoided and endured had the most unfavourable outcomes in terms of psychosexual functioning.

    Conclusions

    Avoidance of sexual activities was related to reduced sexual function over time, which calls for attention and clinical interventions targeting avoidance. Additionally, women who both avoid and endure sexual activities despite pain possibly need tailored interventions, as women with this coping pattern reported the lowest levels of psychosexual functioning.

    Significance

    In this prospective study, avoidance of sexual activities predicted sexual function over time, when controlling for pain intensity. Subgroups of women using distinct patterns of coping were identified. Those who both avoided and endured had the lowest levels of psychosexual functioning.

  • 7.
    Engman, Linnea
    et al.
    Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), Örebro University.
    Flink, Ida
    Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), Örebro University.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Linton, Steven
    Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), Örebro University.
    Avoiding or enduring painful sex?: A longitudinal study of coping patterns and sexual function in women with vulvovaginal pain2017Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 8.
    Engman, Linnea
    et al.
    Örebro universitet.
    Flink, Ida
    Örebro universitet.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Linton, Steven
    Örebro universitet.
    When sex hurts: Avoid, endure or try something different?2016Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 9.
    Engman, Linnea
    et al.
    Örebro University.
    Johansson, Åsa
    Örebro University.
    Majonen, Linda
    Örebro University.
    Flink, Ida
    Örebro University.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Linton, Steven
    Örebro University.
    A longitudinal study of coping strategies in women with vulvovaginal pain2016Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 10.
    Flink, I. K.
    et al.
    Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), Institution of Law, Psychology, and Social Work, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden .
    Thomtén, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology. Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), Institution of Law, Psychology, and Social Work, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden .
    Engman, L.
    Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), Institution of Law, Psychology, and Social Work, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden .
    Hedström, S.
    Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), Institution of Law, Psychology, and Social Work, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden .
    Linton, S. J.
    Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), Institution of Law, Psychology, and Social Work, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden .
    Coping with painful sex: Development and initial validation of the CHAMP Sexual Pain Coping Scale2015In: Scandinavian Journal of Pain, ISSN 1877-8860, E-ISSN 1877-8879, Vol. 9, p. 74-80Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background and purpose: Recurrent vulvar pain is a common and debilitating condition which has received remarkably little attention in pain research. For instance, little is known about how these women cope with sexual activities, and there are no structured assessment tools. The purpose of this study was to explore coping strategies in this group, with a view to develop a measure to assess how women with vulvar pain cope with sexual activities. Methods: The current study is based on a subsample from a longitudinal study about vulvar pain in a student sample consisting of women between 18 and 35 years old (N= 964). Only data from the ones reporting recurrent vulvar pain during the last six months (N= 289) were used in the analyses. First, the CHAMP Sexual Pain Coping Scale (CSPCS) was created, with the aim of assessing how women with vulvar pain cope with sexual activities. The scale was inspired by previous research on women with vulvar pain as well as well-known coping strategies in other pain populations. Second, the psychometric properties of the scale were explored by analyzing the factor structure and internal reliability. Third, validity features were examined in terms of criterion validity and construct validity. Results: The analyses supported a three-factor solution, embracing the strategies endurance, avoidance and alternative coping. The internal reliability of the subscales turned out to be good, and the criterion validity was supported for all three subscales. The construct validity was clearly supported for the endurance and the avoidance subscales, but not for the alternative coping subscale. Conclusions: The findings support the CSPCS as an instrument for assessing how women with vulvar pain cope with sexual activities. The strategies endurance, avoidance and alternative coping correspond with findings from earlier research. Endurance reflects a tendency to engage in and continue with sexual activities despite pain, while attempting to minimize or suppress thoughts of pain. Avoidance, on the other hand, involves efforts to stay away from sexual activities, in particular vaginal penetration, because of fear of pain. Alternative coping refers to endeavours to find alternative sexual activities that do not necessarily involve vaginal penetration. Even though this first study indicates that the CSPCS may be psychometrically sound, more studies are needed to confirm the psychometric properties and clinical application of this instrument. In particular, the construct validity of the alternative coping subscale needs to be further evaluated. Implications: A valid instrument for assessing strategies for coping with sexual activities in this population has important clinical implications, since it provides a method that may enhance assessment procedures, be used in research, and stimulate the development of treatment. © 2015 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain.

  • 11.
    Flink, Ida
    et al.
    Örebro Universitet.
    Engman, Linnea
    Örebro Universitet.
    Ter Kuile, Monique
    Leiden University, Netherlands.
    Ekdahl, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Linton, Steven James
    Örebro Universitet.
    Coping with pain in intimate situations: applying the avoidance-endurance model to women with vulvovaginal pain2017In: Scandinavian Journal of Pain, ISSN 1877-8860, E-ISSN 1877-8879, Vol. 17, no October 2017, p. 302-308Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background and aims

    Chronic vulvovaginal pain is strikingly common and has a serious impact on women's lives. Nevertheless, there are few longitudinal studies focusing on mechanisms involved in the pain development. One area of interest is how women cope with sexual activities and how this affects their pain. In this study, avoidance and endurance coping behaviors were explored as possible mediators of the relation between catastrophizing and pain, cross-sectionally and longitudinally.

    Methods

    251 women (18–35 years old) with vulvovaginal pain were recruited in university settings and filled out questionnaires about their pain, catastrophizing and coping behaviors at two occasions, with five months in between. Multiple mediation models were tested, exploring avoidance and endurance as mediators of the relation between catastrophizing and pain.

    Results

    The results showed that avoidance was an influential mediator of the link between catastrophizing and pain. Using multiple mediation models we found that although the indirect effects of both avoidance and endurance were significant cross-sectionally, only avoidance was a significant mediator in the combined model exploring associations over time.

    Conclusions

    This study indicates that the strategies women with vulvovaginal pain use for coping with sexual activities are important for the course of pain. Avoidance and, to a lesser degree, endurance strategies were identified as important mediators of the effects of catastrophizing on pain. When exploring the links over time, only avoidance emerged as a significant mediator.

    Implications

    In this longitudinal study, catastrophizing was linked to vulvovaginal pain, via avoidance and endurance of sexual activities. Hence, targeting catastrophizing early on in treatment, as well as addressing coping, may be important in clinical interventions.

  • 12.
    Flink, Ida K.
    et al.
    Univ Örebro, Örebro.
    Engman, Linnea
    Univ Örebro, Örebro.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Linton, Steven J.
    Univ Örebro, Örebro.
    The role of catastrophizing in vulvovaginal pain: Impact on pain and partner responses over time2017In: Journal of applied biobehavioral research, ISSN 1071-2089, E-ISSN 1751-9861, Vol. 22, no 1, article id UNSP e12093Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this prospective study was to explore the role of catastrophizing in vulvovaginal pain. The study entails two research questions. The first question was whether catastrophizing predicts the occurrence of vulvovaginal pain. The second question focused on exploring the links between catastrophizing, partner responses and pain. Five hundred and ten women filled out questionnaires at two measurement points, 10months apart. The women were divided into three groups based on levels of catastrophizing. To study the first research question, the groups were used as predictors of pain at follow-up. To study the second research question, the groups were compared regarding their perceived solicitous partner responses. Subsequently, two mediation models were tested to explore whether catastrophizing mediated the relationship between solicitous partner responses and pain, cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Baseline levels of catastrophizing distinguished between pain and no pain 10months later. High catastrophizers reported higher levels of solicitous partner responses than low catastrophizers. The mediation analyses revealed catastrophizing as a significant mediator between solicitous partner responses and pain, cross-sectionally and over time. The findings support catastrophizing as being an important factor in women with vulvovaginal pain, cross-sectionally and over time.

  • 13.
    Grossi, Georgio
    et al.
    Inst Stressforskning Stockholms universitet.
    Thomten, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences.
    Fandino-Losada, Andres
    Department of Public Health, Karolinska Institute.
    Soares, Joaquim J.F.
    Department of Public Health, Karolinska Institute.
    Sundin, Örjan
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences.
    Does burnout predict changes in pain experiences among women living in Sweden?: A longitudinal study2009In: Stress and Health, ISSN 1532-3005, E-ISSN 1532-2998, Vol. 25, no 4, p. 297-311Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The study investigated the associations between burnout—conceptualized as a syndrome of emotional exhaustion/physical fatigue and cognitive weariness—and pain parameters (overall pain, pain sites, intensity and frequency, and perceived disability) among 2,300 women living in Stockholm County. The study was a longitudinal panel survey with two assessments by means of questionnaires, 1 year apart. After adjustment for socio-demographic and work characteristics, smoking, psychological distress, physical health and basal pain parameters, T1 levels of burnout and/or their change scores were the most important predictors of overall pain, neck–shoulderpain, back pain and disability. Pain frequency was related to increases in tension and listlessness.

    The results indicated that burnout contributes to the onset and maintenance of pain and to the functional impairment that it causes. Further studies are needed to evaluate the extent to which pain and burnout, may be mutually reinforcing.

     

  • 14.
    Larsson, Birgitta
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Uppsala; Sundsvall Hospital.
    Karlström, Annika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences.
    Rubertsson, Christine
    Uppsala University, Uppsala.
    Ternström, Elin
    Uppsala University, Uppsala.
    Ekdahl, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Segebladh, Birgitta
    Uppsala University, Uppsala.
    Hildingsson, Ingegerd
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences. Uppsala University, Uppsala.
    Birth preference in women undergoing treatment for childbirth fear: A randomised controlled trial2017In: Women and Birth, ISSN 1871-5192, E-ISSN 1878-1799, Vol. 30, no 6, p. 460-467Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Childbirth fear is the most common underlying reason for requesting a caesarean section without medical reason. The aim of this randomised controlled study was to investigate birth preferences in women undergoing treatment for childbirth fear, and to investigate birth experience and satisfaction with the allocated treatment. Methods: Pregnant women classified with childbirth fear (≥60 on the Fear Of Birth Scale) (n = 258) were recruited at one university hospital and two regional hospitals over one year. The participants were randomised (1:1) to intervention (Internet-based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (ICBT)) (n = 127) or standard care (face-to-face counselling) (n = 131). Data were collected by questionnaires in pregnancy week 20-25 (baseline), week 36 and two months after birth. Results: Caesarean section preference decreased from 34% to 12% in the ICBT group and from 24% to 20% in the counselling group. Two months after birth, the preference for caesarean increased to 20% in the ICBT group and to 29% in the counselling group, and there was no statistically significant change over time. Women in the ICBT group were less satisfied with the treatment (OR 4.5). The treatment had no impact on or worsened their childbirth fear (OR 5.5). There were no differences between the groups regarding birth experience. Conclusion: Women's birth preferences fluctuated over the course of pregnancy and after birth regardless of treatment method. Women felt their fear was reduced and were more satisfied with face-to-face counselling compared to ICBT. A higher percentage were lost to follow-up in ICBT group suggesting a need for further research.

  • 15.
    Leiler, Anna
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology. 202100-4524.
    Bjärtå, Anna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Ekdahl, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Wasteson, Elisabet
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    High levels of psychological distress among asylum seekers and refugees in Sweden2018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In 2015 there was an unforeseen increase of refugees worldwide. In order to face the high rates of psychological distress refugees suffer, the AMIR-project created a model for early assessment and intervention of mental health among refugees. Previous research might not be applicable to the groups seeking asylum in Europe from 2015, so as a first step, a study aiming to estimate the prevalence of mental health problems was conducted.  

    Methods. Five hundred and ten refugees participated at open screenings conducted at refugee housing facilities. Of the participants, 367 were asylum seekers and 143 had received a residence permit. Instruments included measures of depressive symptoms, anxiety, risk of having PTSD and quality of life.

    Preliminary results. A high percentage of individuals (56-58.4%) reported clinically significant levels of depression, anxiety and risk of having PTSD. Prevalence estimates were significantly higher among asylum seekers than among those who had received their residence permit. Quality of life was generally rated below population norms and correlated significantly with mental health outcomes.

    Conclusions. Individuals residing in refugee housing facilities show high levels of psychological distress. Asylum seekers are worse off than those having received a residence permit. Actions should be taken to improve conditions in housing facilities, to shorten the time awaiting the asylum decision and to provide psychosocial support to help individuals manage their distress during the time of waiting.

    Key words: Refugee – asylum seeker – mental health – quality of life - prevalence

  • 16.
    Leiler, Anna
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology and Social Work.
    Bjärtå, Anna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology and Social Work.
    Ekdahl, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology and Social Work.
    Wasteson, Elisabet
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology and Social Work.
    Mental Health and Quality of Life among Asylum Seekers and Refugees Living in Refugee Housing Facilities in Sweden2019In: Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, ISSN 0933-7954, E-ISSN 1433-9285, Vol. 54, no 5, p. 543-551Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In 2015, there was a high influx of refugees to Sweden, creating an extreme situation where individuals were forced to remain in large housing facilities for long periods. The present study aims to describe the mental health and quality of life of these individuals. 

    Methods. Data, based on 510 individuals, were obtained by means of a questionnaire at open screenings conducted at or nearby refugee housing facilities. Of the participating refugees, 367 were asylum seekers and 143 had received a residence permit but were still awaiting a more permanent housing solution. The questionnaire included measures of depressive symptoms (PHQ-9), symptoms of anxiety (GAD-7), risk of having post traumatic stress disorder (PC-PTSD), and quality of life (WHOQOL-BREF).

    Results. Of the total sample, 56-58.4% reported clinically significant levels of symptoms of depression, anxiety and risk of having PTSD. Prevalence estimates were higher among asylum seekers than among those who had received their residence permit. Quality of life was generally rated below population norms and correlated negatively with mental health outcomes.

    Conclusions. Individuals residing in refugee housing facilities show high levels of psychological distress and rate their quality of life as low. Asylum seekers score higher than those having received a residence permit. These results are troublesome since the wait time for asylum decisions has lengthened considerably after 2015. The results of the present study calls for the urgency of societal actions to shorten the asylum process wait time and improve conditions at the housing facilities.  

  • 17.
    Rondung, Elisabet
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Ekdahl, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Hildingsson, Ingegerd
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences. Uppsala University.
    Rubertsson, Christine
    Uppsala University; Lund University.
    Sundin, Örjan
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Heterogeneity in childbirth related fear or anxiety2018In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, E-ISSN 1467-9450, Vol. 59, no 6, p. 634-643Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Many pregnant women experience fear, worry or anxiety relating to the upcoming childbirth. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate possible subgroups in a sample of 206 pregnant women (mean age 29.4 years), reporting fear of birth in mid-pregnancy. Comparisons were made between nulliparous and parous women. In a series of cluster analyses, validated psychological instruments were used to cluster women based on their psychological profiles. A five-cluster solution was suggested, with the clusters characterized by: overall low symptom load, general high symptom load, medium symptom load with high performance-based self-esteem, blood- and injection phobic anxiety, and specific anxiety symptoms. Nulliparous women were more likely to report clinically relevant levels of blood- and injection phobia (OR = 2.57, 95% CI 1.09–6.01), while parous women more often reported previous negative experiences in health care (OR 1.93, 95% CI 1.09–3.39) or previous trauma (OR 2.90, 95% CI 1.58–5.32). The results indicate that women reporting fear of birth are a heterogeneous group. In order to individualize treatment, psychological characteristics may be of greater importance than parity in identifying relevant subgroups. 

  • 18.
    Rondung, Elisabet
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology and Social Work.
    Ekdahl, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology and Social Work.
    Sundin, Örjan
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology and Social Work.
    Potential mechanisms in fear of birth: The role of pain catastrophizing and intolerance of uncertainty.2019In: Birth, ISSN 0730-7659, E-ISSN 1523-536X, Vol. 46, no 1, p. 61-68Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    BACKGROUND: Although many pregnant women experience fear, worry, or anxiety relating to the upcoming birth, little is known regarding the psychological mechanisms contributing to these experiences. In this study, we wanted to take a first step in trying to identify mechanisms of potential interest. The objective of this cross-sectional study was thus to investigate pain catastrophizing, intolerance of uncertainty, positive worry beliefs, and cognitive avoidance as potential mechanisms predicting fear of birth among pregnant women.

    METHODS: A sample of 499 pregnant women, recruited in antenatal health care settings in 2 Swedish regions, completed the Fear of Birth Scale, along with measurements of the mechanisms of interest. Linear and logistic hierarchical regression analyses were used to investigate the extent to which pain catastrophizing, intolerance of uncertainty, positive worry beliefs, and cognitive avoidance predicted fear of birth, both as a continuous and a dichotomous measure.

    RESULTS: Logistic regression analysis showed high levels of pain catastrophizing and intolerance of uncertainty to be the best predictors of fear of birth, OR 3.49 (95% CI 2.17-5.61) and OR 3.25 (95% CI 2.00-5.27), respectively. Positive beliefs about worry and cognitive avoidance were both correlated with fear of birth as a continuous measure, but did not contribute to the logistic regression model.

    CONCLUSIONS: Pain catastrophizing and intolerance of uncertainty were the most evident predictors of fear of birth. Although preliminary, the findings suggest that interventions targeting catastrophic cognitions and intolerance of uncertainty might be relevant to psychological treatment for fear, worry, or anxiety relating to giving birth.

  • 19.
    Rondung, Elisabet
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Ternström, Elin
    Uppsala University.
    Hildingsson, Ingegerd
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences. Uppsala University.
    Haines, Helen M
    The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
    Sundin, Örjan
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Ekdahl, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Karlström, Annika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences.
    Larsson, Birgitta
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences.
    Segeblad, Birgitta
    Uppsala University.
    Baylis, Rebecca
    Uppsala University.
    Rubertsson, Christine
    Uppsala University; Lund University.
    Comparing Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy With Standard Care for Women With Fear of Birth: Randomized Controlled Trial.2018In: JMIR mental health, ISSN 2368-7959, Vol. 5, no 3, article id e10420Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    BACKGROUND: Although many pregnant women report fear related to the approaching birth, no consensus exists on how fear of birth should be handled in clinical care.

    OBJECTIVE: This randomized controlled trial aimed to compare the efficacy of a guided internet-based self-help program based on cognitive behavioral therapy (guided ICBT) with standard care on the levels of fear of birth in a sample of pregnant women reporting fear of birth.

    METHODS: This nonblinded, multicenter randomized controlled trial with a parallel design was conducted at three study centers (hospitals) in Sweden. Recruitment commenced at the ultrasound screening examination during gestational weeks 17-20. The therapist-guided ICBT intervention was inspired by the Unified protocol for transdiagnostic treatment of emotional disorders and consisted of 8 treatment modules and 1 module for postpartum follow-up. The aim was to help participants observe and understand their fear of birth and find new ways of coping with difficult thoughts and emotions. Standard care was offered in the three different study regions. The primary outcome was self-assessed levels of fear of birth, measured using the Fear of Birth Scale.

    RESULTS: We included 258 pregnant women reporting clinically significant levels of fear of birth (guided ICBT group, 127; standard care group, 131). Of the 127 women randomized to the guided ICBT group, 103 (81%) commenced treatment, 60 (47%) moved on to the second module, and only 13 (10%) finished ≥4 modules. The levels of fear of birth did not differ between the intervention groups postintervention. At 1-year postpartum follow-up, participants in the guided ICBT group exhibited significantly lower levels of fear of birth (U=3674.00, z=-1.97, P=.049, Cohen d=0.28, 95% CI -0.01 to 0.57). Using the linear mixed models analysis, an overall decrease in the levels of fear of birth over time was found (P≤ .001), along with a significant interaction between time and intervention, showing a larger reduction in fear of birth in the guided ICBT group over time (F1,192.538=4.96, P=.03).

    CONCLUSIONS: Fear of birth decreased over time in both intervention groups; while the decrease was slightly larger in the guided ICBT group, the main effect of time alone, regardless of treatment allocation, was most evident. Poor treatment adherence to guided ICBT implies low feasibility and acceptance of this treatment.

    TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02306434; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02306434 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/70sj83qat).

  • 20.
    Rondung, Elisabet
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Sundin, Örjan
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Psychological perspectives on fear of childbirth2016In: Journal of Anxiety Disorders, ISSN 0887-6185, E-ISSN 1873-7897, Vol. 44, p. 80-91Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The objective of this narrative review was to examine the literature on fear of childbirth from a psychological perspective, addressing the specificity of childbirth fear, the pathways of fear acquisition, and the physiological, cognitive and behavioral aspects of fear. Systematic procedures for literature search, inclusion and exclusion left 86 original research papers for analysis. Findings summarize the body of knowledge for each area of interest, as well as the number of studies addressing each theme. Overall, few studies adopt a clear-cut psychological perspective, leaving the psychological mechanisms of childbirth fear largely unexplored. Although methodological limitations make conclusions difficult, results give a hint of etiological diversity and possible psychological mechanisms commonly described as transdiagnostic features in anxiety. Systematic investigations of psychological mechanisms, longitudinal studies exploring possible vicious circles of fear, and studies comparing psychological characteristics within the group of women fearing childbirth are identified as research areas of high priority.

  • 21.
    Ternström, Elin
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Uppsala.
    Hildingsson, Ingegerd
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences. Uppsala University, Uppsala.
    Haines, Helen
    University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
    Karlström, Annika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences.
    Sundin, Örjan
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Ekdahl, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Segeblad, Birgitta
    Uppsala University Hospital, Uppsala.
    Larsson, Birgitta
    Uppsala University, Uppsala; Sundsvall Hospital, Sundsvall.
    Rondung, Elisabet
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Rubertsson, Christine
    Uppsala University, Uppsala.
    A randomized controlled study comparing internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy and counselling by standard care for fear of birth – A study protocol2017In: Sexual & Reproductive HealthCare, ISSN 1877-5756, E-ISSN 1877-5764, Vol. 13, p. 75-82Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Fear of birth is a concern that requires evidence based treatment. The aim of this study is to present the protocol of a randomized controlled multi-center trial to compare internet-based cognitive therapy with counseling as standard care for pregnant women reporting fear of birth. Participants will be recruited in mid-pregnancy. Women who score 60 or above on the Fear of Birth Scale will be offered to participate in this study. Data will be collected by questionnaires including validated instruments at baseline and follow-ups at gestational weeks 30 and 36, two months and one year after birth. The primary outcome will be level of fear of birth measured with the Fear of Birth Scale at 36 weeks of gestation. Secondary outcome measures are level of fear of birth at two months and one year after giving birth, preferences for mode of birth, requests for elective cesarean section, compliance and satisfaction with treatment and birth outcomes. A power calculation based on a 20% reduction of fear implies that approximately 200 will be included in the trial. The study outlined in this protocol will be the first randomized controlled trial comparing internet-based cognitive therapy with counseling for women reporting fear of birth. An effective treatment may result in better overall health for women with fear of birth and a reduction in cesarean sections for non-medical reasons. Evidence regarding treatment options of fear of birth will also provide a greater choice for women.

  • 22.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology. Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden .
    Living with genital pain: Sexual function, satisfaction, and help-seeking among women living in Sweden2014In: Scandinavian Journal of Pain, ISSN 1877-8860, E-ISSN 1877-8879, Vol. 5, no 1, p. 19-25Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background and aims: Female genital pain is a debilitating problem that negatively affects several aspects of the life of women. Several studies present figures of prevalence indicating that the problem affects nearly 20% of young women. However, many women fail to consult health care and the estimated prevalence therefore remains insecure. Historically, genital pain was commonly viewed as either physiological or psychosexual. Although the current field of research and clinical expertise in general agree upon a biopsychosocial conceptualization, less is known about the manifestation of the problem in everyday life and the experience of seeking health care among afflicted women. The objectives of the present study was to examine genital pain in a general female population living in Sweden cross-sectionally in terms of prevalence, sexual function, sexual satisfaction and help seeking, and to identify possible predictors of genital pain among women. Methods: The study was a population-based study using a postal questionnaire administered to 4052 women (age 18--35). Of these 944 (response rate: 23%) took part in the study. Results: Genital pain of six months duration was reported by 16.1% of the women. Women with pain more commonly reported fungal infections, other pain problems, sexual dysfunctions and symptoms of anxiety than pain-free women and in addition lower sexual satisfaction. There were no differences in sexual frequency. Pain was most commonly reported during sexual intercourse, but many women also experienced pain during non-sexual activities, with pain durations of several hours after the pain eliciting activity was interrupted. Of those reporting pain, 50% had sought care for their pain. The most common was to counsel a doctor and to receive topical treatment. However, the experienced effects of the treatments were on average low. In the explanatory model, fungal infections, and sexual dysfunctions were associated with genital pain. Conclusions: The study had a low response rate, but still indicates that genital pain is common and negatively affects several aspects of women' life, not just sexual activities. Although many women report pro-longed pain experiences, many fail to consult health care and among those who seek care the effects of treatment are on average poor. There are strong associations between sexual dysfunctions (lack of sexual arousal, vaginal muscle tension hindering intercourse) and genital pain that, based on previous findings in this field of research, might be viewed in terms of circular maintaining processes. Implications: Female genital pain is not just limited to the sexual context, but often negatively affects several situations in women' life. The size of the problem calls for immediate development of preventive interventions and treatment programs that focus on sexual education and to encourage a healthy sexuality among women and their partners. There is a need to identify methods in order to assemble evidence based interventions of female genital pain. Such methods are currently lacking, resulting in poor treatment options for women with pain. © 2013 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain.

  • 23.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences.
    Pain among women: Prospective population studies from a biopsychosocial perspective on pain2012Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis focuses on the role of different psychosocial factors in the course of pain over time in a general population sample of women in Sweden. The main aim was to identify and quantify such factors as predictors of pain, pain-related disability and quality of life within a biopsychosocial framework for the understanding of the pain experience over time.  The studies were based on baseline (BL) and follow-up (FU) measures with 12 months apart among 2,300 women living in Sweden, and included physical and psychological health and socio-economic status.

    Study I investigated associations between socio-economic status (SES) at baseline and pain and pain-related disability at follow-up, and additionally a possible mediating role of depressive symptoms in such associations. The results indicated that educational level, financial strain and occupational level were associated with pain over time. Symptoms of depression were related to all pain-and SES factors, and might be understood as a mediating factor within this context. The results of Study II showed a link between symptoms of burnout at baseline and several pain-locations. Additionally, among women with pain, the characteristics of the pain experience and pain-related disability were associated with level of burnout over time. Study III focused on the sub sample of women reporting pain at follow-up, and examined possible predictors of their perceptions of quality of life (QOL). Several psychosocial factors were associated with QOL, and seemed to be more important predictors than the characteristics of pain in terms of intensity and frequency. These factors were burnout, emotional distress, and social support. Study IV was an attempt to sum up the results of the previous studies by analysing predictors of the course of pain, i.e. by comparing women that developed pain from BL to FU with those that remained pain-free and to compare women with sustained pain with those who recovered from pain during the assessment period. These analyses showed symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTSD) to be associated with reporting emerging pain, while pain variables, educational level and social support were related to sustained pain.

    The results of the four studies in this thesis indicate that psychosocial factors and their interplay with the characteristics of pain can be identified and described in a female sample, with a broad definition of pain, and that these factors play a central role in the experience of pain and its impact on the everyday life of these women. There may be several possible paths leading to the development of persistent pain among women and the identification of risk factors is complicated by never-ending interactions between biological, psychological and social processes. At an early stage, prior to pain development, several risk factors may cluster together (e.g. SES, depression), and work as indicators of, e.g. dysfunctional coping in relation to pain. In the first contact with health care and among primary care personnel the identification of such indicators is crucial so as to find women at risk for prolonged pain conditions. General indicators might then be more easily distinguishable than certain individual behaviour characteristics widely accepted as risk factors for pain and disability (e.g. fear-avoidance). To spread the knowledge of general factors in the first line of health care is therefore of great importance in preventive work.

    Finally, the results demonstrated that many women report pain with characteristics that to a great extent affect their lives and through interactions with psychological and social health might have grave consequences for perceptions of quality of life.

     

  • 24.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Boersma, Katja
    Örebro universitet.
    Flink, Ida
    Örebro universitet.
    Tillfors, Maria
    Örebro universitet.
    Social Anxiety, Pain Catastrophizing and Return to Work Self-efficacy in chronic pain: A Cross-sectional Study2016In: Scandinavian Journal of Pain, ISSN 1877-8860, E-ISSN 1877-8879, Vol. 11, no April, p. 98-103Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background and aims

    Returning to work after periods of sick-leave due to chronic pain problems, involve a number of situations of interpersonal nature (e.g. meeting supervisors/insurance companies to adapt work setting to present functional level, receive help from colleagues, express pain, etc.). Since chronic pain has shown co-morbidity with social anxiety, it is of interest to investigate restraining factors in return to work among chronic pain sufferers from a social perspective. Catastrophizing is identified in both pain and social anxiety as a mechanism that might fuel a continuous bias in how situations are perceived (threat) and by hindering the development of functional behavior strategies. The presence of social anxiety in chronic pain patients might be seen as a stressor that limits the individuals’ ability to effectively communicate pain-related needs to colleagues, and/or employers and therefore act as a hindering factor in return-to-work. Hence, the overall aim of this study was to examine the relationship between social anxiety, pain catastrophizing, and perceived ability to communicate pain-related needs to the work environment in a clinical pain population.

  • 25.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology. Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro University, Sweden.
    Karlsson, Andreas
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Psychological factors in genital pain: The role of fear-avoidance, pain catastrophizing and anxiety sensitivity among women living in Sweden2014In: Scandinavian Journal of Pain, ISSN 1877-8860, E-ISSN 1877-8879, Vol. 5, no 3, p. 193-199Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objectives: One in five women under the age of 30 report recurrent genital pain and pain during sexual intercourse. Female genital pain negatively affects sexual and general health, as well as dyadic function and quality of life. Although the current field of research and clinical expertise in general agree upon a biopsychosocial conceptualization, there is still a lack of theoretical models describing the psychosocial mechanisms involved in the development of genital pain. Originally developed to outline the transition from acute to chronic back pain, the fear avoidance (FA) model has lately been proposed as a possible tool in illustrating the mechanisms involved in genital pain. However, only few studies have empirically tested the components of the FA model empirically. The aim of the present study is to examine fear avoidance beliefs, pain catastrophizing, and symptoms of depression and anxiety among women reporting genital pain, and to relate these concepts to sexual satisfaction/function and the characteristics of pain. Methods: The study was a population-based study using a postal questionnaire administered to 4052 women (age 18-35). Of these 944 (response rate: 23%) took part in the study. Results: Genital pain of six months duration was reported by 16.1% of the women. Women with pain reported elevated levels of symptoms of anxiety, fear avoidance beliefs, pain catastrophizing and anxiety sensitivity. Symptoms of anxiety also predicted pain in the explanatory model together with vaginal tension and fungal infection. Vaginal tension has previously been described as a fear-response to painful intercourse and the results thereby seem to give further support to viewing genital pain from a fear avoidance perspective. Furthermore, fear avoidance beliefs seem to be of similar importance as lack of desire for the experience of sexual satisfaction and could also predict pain during specific activities among women with pain. The results also indicate that sexual satisfaction is related to a specific pain-related fear, rather than a heightened level of general anxiety. Conclusions: The study had a low response rate, but still indicates that genital pain is common and is associated with several aspects of fear and avoidance. In sum, the results support the FA model by giving strong support for fear reactions (vaginal tension) and fear avoidance beliefs, and moderate support for negative affect. In the model negative affect drives pain catastrophizing. Implications: It seems that the experience of genital pain among women in the general population is common and could be associated with increased levels of anxiety and fear-avoidance beliefs. However, the associations should not be understood in isolation from physiological mechanisms but seem to indicate interactions between, e.g. fungal infections, negative appraisals of pain and symptoms, lack of sexual function and satisfaction and increased pain experience. It is possible that psychological mechanisms work in the transition from acute physiological pain to chronic psychologically maintained pain in terms of secondary reactions to, e.g. repeated fungal infections by adding emotional distress, fear of pain and avoidance behaviours. © 2014 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain.

  • 26.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology. Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), Örebro University, Sweden .
    Linton, S. J.
    Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), Örebro University, Sweden .
    When sex hurts: Female genital pain with sexual consequences deserves attention: A position paper2014In: Scandinavian Journal of Pain, ISSN 1877-8860, E-ISSN 1877-8879, Vol. 5, no 3, p. 202-205Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background and aims: The problem of sexual pain is an area that has been shamefully ignored by both the pain community and the health service authorities. Although about 40% of women report such pain and 30% report it during their last intercourse, sexual pain has historically not even been considered a pain problem. The objectives of the present study was to present a background to the problem of female sexual pain, further elaborate on the problem and offer some direction for how advances might be concretely made. Discussion: Genital pain is common and many women describe pain during several non-sexual activities. Therefore describing the pain strictly as a sexual problem, threatens to lose important information about the experience of pain which will be misleading both in assessment and treatment. Instead, seeing the problem as a multidimensional pain condition with debilitating sexual consequences is suggested. It has become apparent that although biological aspects are central in the experience of genital pain, psychological and social aspects may play a major role. The fear avoidance model which has played a major role in our understanding of the development of chronic musculoskeletal pain, also seems to be applicable in genital pain conditions. However, one has to be aware of certain differences when comparing genital pain from musculoskeletal conditions. In addition, there is a lack of established guidelines for assessing or treating unexplained genital pain conditions, and there is a risk of not acknowledging the role of socio-cultural context on how female sexuality is viewed. The problem of recurrent sexual pain is a highly volatile, personal, and socially weighted experience. Because of the lack of understanding of the mechanisms, it is a risk of over-emphasizing the role of vaginal penetration in the assessment and treatment of female sexual pain and clinicians may simply fail to investigate sexual function from a broader perspective. Conclusions and implications: There is a growing interest in the problem of female genital pain and associated problems with sexual pain. However, research predominately refers to the field of sex research, and the involvement from the pain community has to date been relatively low. There is an immediate need to identify the psychosocial mechanisms involved in the transition from acute to chronic genital pain in women and to address these components in treatment using established methods. Since sexual pain is far more than pain during vaginal penetration, there is a risk of treatment interventions being oriented towards performance in terms of a narrowly defined sexual behavior instead of focusing on valued activities, meaning and pleasure for the individual. Assessment and treatment have to include a broad perspective on pain and on sex. © 2014 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain.

  • 27.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology. Örebro University.
    Linton, Steven
    Örebro University.
    A psychological view of sexual pain among women: applying the fear-avoidance model2013In: Women's Health, ISSN 1745-5057, Vol. 9, no 3, p. 251-263Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Aim: The purpose of this paper is to examine how well research findings on dyspareunia (intercourse pain) fit the fear-avoidance (FA) model on pain. Results: The evidence suggests that the experience of pain in dyspareunia functions similarly to the pain reported in other pain conditions. There are also accumulating data showing that the central mechanisms of the FA model, such as catastrophizing, fear, hypervigilance and disability, are central to the experience of sexual pain. However, there are also some potential differences between sexual pain and other pain conditions that demand further attention in terms of the role of the partner, specific emotional consequences of avoidance and the effect of hypervigilance on sexual arousal. Conclusion: The results demonstrate the relevance of the FA model in sexual pain. They also imply that treatment methods for fear and avoidance in other pain conditions offer new avenues for treating sexual pain problems in the clinic. Future studies should focus on expanding how the mechanisms in the FA model contribute to sexual pain, as well as how treatments based on the model may be applied clinically.

  • 28.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology. Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), School of Law, Psychology and Social Work: Psychology, Örebro University, Sweden.
    Lundahl, Rebecka
    Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), School of Law, Psychology and Social Work: Psychology, Örebro University, Sweden.
    Stigenberg, Karin
    Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), School of Law, Psychology and Social Work: Psychology, Örebro University, Sweden.
    Linton, Steven
    Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP), School of Law, Psychology and Social Work: Psychology, Örebro University, Sweden.
    Fear avoidance and pain catastrophizing among women with sexual pain2014In: Women's health, ISSN 1745-5057, Vol. 10, no 6, p. 571-581Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Aim: Among women under 30 years of age, around 20% report recurrent sexual pain. Although the amount of studies investigating sexual pain has increased, little is known about the role of psychosocial factors. The present study used the fear-avoidance model from musculoskeletal pain as a theoretical frame of reference, and examined fear-avoidance beliefs, avoidance behaviors, pain catastrophizing and symptoms of anxiety and depression among women (18-35 years) reporting sexual pain. Methods: The study was cross-sectional, based on a sample of 133 women, where 37 women (27.8%) reported sexual pain often or always. Results: Women with pain reported higher levels of fear avoidance and pain catastrophizing as well as depression and anxiety, with fear avoidance and pain catastrophizing reaching similar levels as has been reported in other long-term pain populations. The level of anxiety and depression did not reach clinical levels. Fear-avoidance beliefs and pain catastrophizing were related to sexual pain and to pain intensity in the regression analysis. Conclusion: The data are in line with, and give further support to, a fear-avoidance perspective in female sexual pain, emphasizing the role of fear and avoidance of pain/sex.

  • 29.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Rondung, Elisabet
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Sundin, Örjan
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Kognitiv beteendeteapi vid förlossningsrädsla: en internetbaserad självhjälpsbehandling2013Other (Other academic)
  • 30.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences.
    Soares, Joaquim
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Health Sciences.
    Sundin, Örjan
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences.
    Pain among women: Associations with socioeconomic factors over time and the mediating role of depressive symptoms2012In: Scandinavian Journal of Pain, ISSN 1877-8860, E-ISSN 1877-8879, Vol. 3, no 2, p. 62-67Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background and aims: Lower socioeconomic status (SES), based on economic situation, education and occupation, has been associated with greater morbidity and mortality in a wide range of diseases, and socioeconomic inequalities have been found in several chronic pain populations. Sincewomen are overrepresented in several clinical pain conditions, there is a need to understand the influence of SES among women with pain. In a previous cross-sectional study, socioeconomic- and work conditions were associated with pain among women from the general population of Sweden. In the present study, based on baseline and follow-up measures from 2300 of the same sample, we examined associations between painvariables, socioeconomic status and work conditions over time by means of multiple logistic/linear regression analyses. Additionally, a possible mediating role of depressive symptoms on the relationship between SES and pain was examined. Methods: The study was a prospective panel survey with two measurements 12 months apart among 2300 women with and without pain from the general population in Stockholm (aged 18-64). Logistic and linear regression analyses were used to identify associations between SES and pain outcomes. Results: Results revealed that pain is a rather stable condition with large impact on daily functioning among many women. Certain SES variables (educational level, financial strain, occupational level) were related to pain and pain related disability prospectively. Financial strain and to be a blue-collar worker were related to the incidence of pain among all women, while educational level was related to worse pain outcomes among women with pain in terms of pain intensity,pain frequency, number of pain locations and pain-related disability. Symptoms of depression were associated with pain incidence and with painvariables (intensity, number of pain locations and pain-related disability) and with lower SES. Conclusions: Financial strain and occupational level were here identified as risk factors for the incidence of pain, and could be interpreted as increasing both physical and psychological stress and thereby work both as predisposing the individual to pain and to perpetuate the development of a pain condition. Educational level was associated with the course of pain in terms of pain duration and pain-related disability which may indicate that once affected by pain, lower educational level may be related to less functional coping strategies in the adaptation to the pain condition. Depressive symptoms could be understood as a mediator of the relationship between SES and pain among women in terms of limiting the individual's strategies to handle pain in a functional manner by increasing passive behavior patterns such as avoidance. Implications: The interplay between SES and symptoms of depression should be regarded in preventive interventions and in treatment of pain among women. An overall risk-profile in terms of psychosocial and biological factors needs to be assessed early on within pain treatment for women. Increased knowledge of socioeconomic risk factors for long term pain, e.g. low educational level, is needed on all levels among all professionals within the healthcare system in order to facilitate effective communication in the treatment of womenwith pain. © 2012 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain.

  • 31.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences.
    Soares, Joaquim
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Health Sciences.
    Sundin, Örjan
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences.
    The influence of psychosocial factors on Quality of Life among women with pain: A prospective study in Sweden2011In: Quality of Life Research, ISSN 0962-9343, E-ISSN 1573-2649, Vol. 20, no 8, p. 1215-1225Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objectives: To identify/quantify predictors of QOL among women with pain over time. Methods: The study comprised 2,300 women aged 18-64 years with and without pain. A longitudinal panel survey with two waves of measurement, 1 year apart, by means of questionnaires was used. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to identify and quantify predictors of QOL. Results: After controlling for socio-demographics, physical health, and baseline pain parameters, QOL, psychological factors, and pain-related disability at base line, as well as their changer scores, predicted differential aspects of social, psychological, and physical QOL, respectively, over time. Aspects of social support were central for the social dimension of QOL and to a lower degree for the psychological dimension. Change scores of burnout and distress were related to all dimensions of QOL. Conclusions: QOL seems to be a rather stable characteristic influenced not only by pain but also related to psychosocial factors over time. Addressing such factors seems central in treatment interventions aiming at improving QOL among individuals with pain

  • 32.
    Thomtén, Johanna
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences.
    Soares, Joaquim
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Health Sciences.
    Sundin, Örjan
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences.
    The role of psychosocial factors in the course of pain - A 1-year follow-up study among women living in Sweden2011In: Archives of Women's Mental Health, ISSN 1434-1816, E-ISSN 1435-1102, Vol. 14, no 6, p. 493-503Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The understanding of the associations between psychosocial factors and persistent pain and their impact on the course of pain among women is crucial to identify risk populations and prevent long-term pain from developing. The aim of the study was to investigate the course of pain among women and the psychosocial factors associated with it. The study was a 1-year follow-up (FU) among 2,300 women in the general population of Sweden. Sociodemographic and psychosocial factors were analyzed in relation to the course of pain, assessed as the presence of pain during the last 3 months at baseline (BL) and at FU. Thirty-three percent of the women with no pain at BL and 77% of those with pain at BL reported pain at FU. Compared to the pain-free women, those who developed pain at FU reported lower social support and physical quality of life (QoL) and worse mental health. Women with sustained pain were older and reported worse mental health, lack of social support, and lower levels of QoL compared to those who recovered from pain. In the multiple logistic regression analyses, only post-traumatic stress symptoms were associated with the development of pain at FU. Number of pain locations and pain duration at BL and physical QoL were associated with sustained pain. Moreover, social support was identified as a protective factor against sustained pain. Pain is persistent or recurrent in a general female population. The results indicate that psychosocial factors do not work as primary predictors in the course of pain and might be better understood through indirect processes by limiting the individual's resources for handling pain in a functional manner.

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