The chicken or the egg: Longitudinal changes in pain and catastrophizing in women with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome


  • Alison Crawford Queen's University
  • Abi Muere
  • Dean A. Tripp
  • J. Curtis Nickel
  • R. Christopher Doiron
  • Robert Moldwin
  • Laura Katz



interstitial cystitis, bladder pain syndrome, catastrophizing


Introduction: Evidence-based psychological strategies are being used as clinicians look for helpful interventions for patients diagnosed with the enigmatic chronic urological pelvic pain condition of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS). Pain and pain catastrophizing are associated with chronic pelvic pain outcomes but the longitudinal role of catastrophizing on patient pain in IC/ BPS remains unknown.

Methods: Women with IC/BPS were recruited from tertiary care clinics across North America and completed a battery of questionnaires, including demographics, pain, depression, catastrophizing at baseline, six months, and one year.

Results: A total of 226 patients completed baseline questions, 183 completed the six-month survey, and 151 completed the one-year survey. Using a cross-lagged analysis, early changes in pain catastrophizing predicted later changes in pain, but not vice versa. Followup subscale analyses revealed that early changes in magnification predicted later changes in pain, early changes in pain predicted later changes in rumination, and that there was a recursive relationship between changes in helplessness and changes in pain across the study.

Conclusions: Pain catastrophizing should be considered a prime target in psychological treatment for chronic pain in patients with IC/BPS, particularly those thinking styles associated with pain onset and maintenance. Future research should be conducted with constructs such as pain catastrophizing in samples prioritizing diversity of patients with IC/BPS and mechanisms as to how to effectively decrease catastrophizing.


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Author Biography

Alison Crawford, Queen's University

Department of Psychology, PhD student



How to Cite

Crawford, A., Muere, A., Tripp, D. A., Nickel, J. C., Doiron, R. C., Moldwin, R., & Katz, L. (2021). The chicken or the egg: Longitudinal changes in pain and catastrophizing in women with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome. Canadian Urological Association Journal, 15(10), 326–31.



Original Research