Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Marya Olgas


The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between self-esteem and duration of low back pain. Low back pain is one of the most common types of chronic pain. Sternbach et al. (1973) have estimated that the chief complaint of at least seventy percent of the patients presenting at the Pain Clinic associated with the School of Medicine of the University of California, San Diego is back pain. They feel that the major reason for this phenomena is the failure of physicians to recognize it as a psychosomatic illness. Erena (1978) concurs with this conclusion. He notes that back pain is not always caused by something as straightforward as a ruptured disc. He feels that chronic pain can result from a multitude of mechanisms and has strong elements of learned behavior in it. Also, if one has the need for pain, the back is1 a prime site because of the large number of role models available to mimic.

Wilfling, Klonoff and Kokan ·(1973:153) state that "it has become increasingly apparent during the past two decades that relationships exist among low back symptoms, their effect on the patient's functioning and the patient's psychological status.'' Associated with these circumstances are emotional reactions which may include hopelessness, anxiety about the future and loss of self-esteem (Jourard, 1963). Research findings (Hanvik, 1951; Phillips, 1964; Sternbach et al., 1973, Wilfling, Klonoff and Kokan, 1973) have supported a relationship between personality characteristics and low back pain as well as self-esteem and chronic pain (Elton, Stanley and Burrows, 1978). Self-esteem of low back pain patients has not been studied in relationship to duration of pain.


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