Psychological and psychosocial predictors of chronic postsurgical pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Emanuele M. Giusti, Marco Lacerenza, Gian Mauro Manzoni, Gianluca Castelnuovo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Knowledge about psychological and psychosocial predictors of chronic postsurgical pain is important to identify patients at risk for poor outcomes. The objective of this systematic review with meta-analysis was to assess the effect of such predictors. A comprehensive search of the available literature on this topic was performed using the electronic databases PubMed, Scopus, Embase, and PsycInfo. Estimates of the effect of each predictor were extracted, and both a narrative synthesis and a quantitative synthesis of these estimates were performed. Multiple imputation was used to take into account the effect of nonsignificant estimates in case they were not reported by original studies. From a sample of 8322 records, 83 articles were included in the narrative synthesis and 41 studies were used to perform the meta-analyses. The narrative synthesis showed that evidence about the effect of psychological predictors is heterogeneous, with few expected predictors, such as optimism, state anxiety and psychological distress, consistently associated with chronic postsurgical pain. By contrast, the meta-analyses showed that state anxiety, trait anxiety, mental health, depression, catastrophizing and, to a lesser extent, kinesiophobia and self-efficacy have a weak but significant association with chronic postsurgical pain. In conclusion, this study showed that psychological predictors have a significant association with chronic postsurgical pain and that state anxiety is the most explicative one.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-30
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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