An examination of the role of self-regulatory fatigue in adaption to chronic pain

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

Objectives: The prevalence of chronic pain and disability will continue to increase due to an aging population and lifestyle factors. Identifying factors which facilitate self-management is essential. Managing chronic pain requires the self-regulation of many factors that affect self-management, for example, to manage activity levels, mood, motivation, self-discipline, self-efficacy and inner conflicts. It has been proposed that difficulties in self-management in people with chronic pain arise from deficits in self-regulation, or a reduced capacity for self-regulation.It would be useful, therefore, to understand the factors that impact on self-regulatory processes in chronic pain as a possible means by which self-management might be optimised. This thesis applied the Strength Model to understand self-regulation in people with chronic pain.Methods: Six studies were conducted. In the first study, people with chronic pain and controls participated in tasks of self-regulation to examine the role of self-regulatory fatigue and self-efficacy on performance. In the second study, a cross-sectional design was employed where participants completed questionnaires to assess the relationship between self-regulatory fatigue, pain self-efficacy and mood. In the third study, two short forms of the Self-regulatory Fatigue Scale (SRFS) were developed and an initial validation was conducted. A discriminant content validity study of the SRFS was conducted in study 4.A series of N-of-1 studies formed studies 5 and 6, which employed diary methods to examine the role of pain, self-regulatory fatigue, self-efficacy, motivation, goal striving and demands on goal pursuit. Results: The findings did not support Strength Model assumptions due to conceptual and methodological limitations of the Strength Model. At between-person and within-person levels, self-regulatory fatigue did not reliably predict self-regulation performance or goal pursuit. The findings suggest that self-regulatory fatigue and self-efficacy influence allocation of resources during self-regulation.Higher self-efficacy may be adaptive at the group level, but not at the within-person level when self-regulatory capacity is reduced. Discussion: The evidence did not support the Strength Model but pointed to a motivated resource allocation explanation of self-regulation in people with chronic pain. The findings have implications from both a theoretical and clinical perspective.
Date of Award23 Nov 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorDiane Dixon (Supervisor) & Leanne Fleming (Supervisor)

Cite this