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Predictors of self-management in patients with chronic low back pain: a longitudinal study.


Predictors of self-management in patients with chronic low back pain: a longitudinal study. Thumbnail




Background: Self-management (SM) is a key recommended strategy for managing chronic low back pain (CLBP). However, SM programmes generate small to moderate benefits for reducing pain and disability in patients with CLBP. The benefits of the SM programme can potentially be optimised by identifying specific subgroups of patients who are the best responders. To date, no longitudinal study has examined the predictive relationships between SM and biopsychosocial factors in patients with CLBP. The aim was to determine whether biopsychosocial factors predict SM and its change over time in patients with CLBP.

Methods: In this multi-centre longitudinal cohort study, we recruited 270 working-age patients with CLBP (mean age 43.74, 61% female) who consulted outpatient physiotherapy for their CLBP. Participants completed self-reported validated measures of pain intensity, disability, physical activity, kinesiophobia, catastrophising, depression and SM at baseline and six months. SM constructs were measured using eight subscales of the Health Education Impact Questionnaire (heiQ), including Health Directed Activity (HDA), Positive and Active Engagement in Life (PAEL), Emotional Distress (ED), Self-Monitoring and Insight (SMI), Constructive Attitudes and Approaches (CAA), Skill and Technique Acquisition (STA), Social Integration and Support (SIS) and Health Service Navigation (HSN). Data were analysed using General Linear Model (GLM) regression.

Results: Physical activity and healthcare use (positively) and disability, depression, kinesiophobia, catastrophising (negatively) predicted (p < 0.05, R-2 0.07-0.55) SM constructs at baseline in patients with CLBP. Baseline depression (constructs: PAEL, ED, SMI, CAA and STA), kinesiophobia (constructs: CAA and HSN), catastrophising (construct: ED), and physical disability (constructs: PAEL, CAA and SIS) negatively predicted a range of SM constructs. Changes over six months in SM constructs were predicted by changes in depression, kinesiophobia, catastrophising, and physical activity (p < 0.05, R-2 0.13-0.32).

Conclusions: Self-reported disability, physical activity, depression, catastrophising and kinesiophobia predicted multiple constructs of SM measured using the heiQ subscales in working-age patients with CLBP. Knowledge of biopsychosocial predictors of SM may help triage patients with CLBP into targeted pain management programmes.

Acceptance Date Oct 28, 2022
Publication Date Dec 7, 2022
Journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Print ISSN 1471-2474
Publisher BioMed Central
Pages 1071 - ?
Keywords Low back pain; Chronic low back pain; Self-management; Longitudinal study; Regression analysis; Predictors; Health education impact questionnaire
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.


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