Pain-related anxiety and opioid misuse in a racially/ethnically diverse young adult sample with moderate/severe pain

Andrew H. Rogers, Jafar Bakhshaie, Hantin Lam, Kirsten J. Langdon, Joseph W. Ditre, Michael J. Zvolensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Pain problems are of significant public health concern, and with opioid-related problems and death due to overdose at an all-time high, there is significant public health importance to identify risk factors that link instances of pain to opioid misuse among persons with pain whether or not they have been prescribed opioids for pain management. Severe pain and pain-related problems have been associated with increased risk for opioid misuse, and recent research indicates that pain-related anxiety (worry about the negative consequences of pain) may contribute to a more debilitating pain experience. Additionally, pain-related anxiety has previously been linked to substance use motives and dependence for cannabis and tobacco. However, little research has examined pain-related anxiety as a transdiagnostic risk factor for opioid misuse. The current study examined the relationship between pain-related anxiety and self-reported opioid misuse (addiction, prescription denial, family concerns, detox) in a racially/ethnically diverse sample of young adults (N = 256, M age = 22.84) reporting moderate to severe bodily pain over the previous four weeks. Results indicated that pain-related anxiety was significantly related to several indicators of opioid misuse as well as an increased number of opioid-related problems. Findings from the current study suggest that targeting pain-related anxiety may be one therapeutic strategy to reduce opioid misuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-382
Number of pages11
JournalCognitive Behaviour Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 3 2018


  • Pain-related anxiety
  • addiction
  • opioid misuse
  • pain
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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