Cognitive bias in back pain patients attending osteopathy: testing the enmeshment model in reference to future thinking.
Depressive symptoms are common in chronic pain. Previous research has found differences in information-processing biases in depressed pain patients and depressed people without pain. The schema enmeshment model of pain (SEMP) has been proposed to explain chronic pain patients' information-processing biases. Negative future thinking is common in depression but has not been explored in relation to chronic pain and information-processing models. The study aimed to test the SEMP with reference to future thinking. An information-processing paradigm compared endorsement and recall bias between depressed and non-depressed chronic low back pain patients and control participants. Twenty-five depressed and 35 non-depressed chronic low back pain patients and 25 control participants (student osteopaths) were recruited from an osteopathy practice. Participants were asked to endorse positive and negative ill-health, depression-related, and neutral (control) adjectives, encoded in reference to either current or future time-frame. Incidental recall of the adjectives was then tested. While the expected hypothesis of a recall bias by depressed pain patients towards ill-health stimuli in the current condition was confirmed, the recall bias was not present in the future condition. Additionally, patterns of endorsement and recall bias differed. Results extend understanding of future thinking in chronic pain within the context of the SEMP.