Self-Efficacy Is Associated with Pain, Functioning, and Coping in Patients with Chronic Temporomandibular Disorder Pain

Key Words: TMJ, TMD, Headaches, Facial Pain, Chronic Pain, Chronic Headaches, Migraines

Heather Brister, BS / Judith A. Turner, PhD / Leslie A. Aaron, PhD, MPH / Lloyd Mancl, PhD

Aims: To examine the psychometric characteristics of a measure of self-efficacy for managing temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and to determine whether scores on this measure were related to pain, disability, and psychological distress in patients with chronic TMD pain.

Methods: Patients seeking treatment for chronic TMD pain (n = 156, 87% female, mean age = 37 years) completed measures assessing pain, disability, mental health, pain-coping strategies, and self-efficacy for managing their pain.

Results: The self-efficacy measure, which was adapted from arthritis research, demonstrated good psychometric characteristics (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.91, minimal floor and ceiling effects, and validity). Greater self-efficacy was associated with significantly (P < .05) lower levels of pain, disability, and psychological distress. Self-efficacy remained significantly associated with disability and mental health measures even after controlling for demographic variables and pain intensity. In addition, patients with higher self-efficacy reported significantly (P < .05) greater use of an active, adaptive chronic pain-coping strategy (task persistence) and less use of a passive, maladaptive chronic pain-coping strategy (rest).

Conclusion: Self-efficacy for managing pain appears to be important in the adjustment of patients with chronic TMD pain. Research is needed to determine whether treatments designed to increase self-efficacy improve TMD patient outcomes. J OROFAC PAIN 2006;20:115–124

Patients with greater self-efficacy have shown significantly lower levels of pain and worked better with pain coping strategies associated with TMD and its discomfort. Dr. Stan Farrell works with many patients that feel they have no-where else to turn. He provides numerous non-surgical treatment options for TMJ and associated headaches that are proven to alleviate pain without the use of narcotics. If you feel like you’ve exhausted all options or have just lived with the pain call and schedule a consultation with Dr. Farrell at AZ TMJ, 480-945-3629.