The Role of Litigation in Predicting Disability Outcomes in Chronic Pain Patients
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This study examined the extent to which being involved in civil and industrial litigation predicted outcome in an population of chronic pain patients. Data were collected in a structured telephone interview for a litigant group of 80 patients and a nonlitigant group of 47 patients. There were no significant differences in the amount of medication used, the number of hours spent resting per day, or the number of individuals who were able to return to work. Litigants showed significantly higher levels of depression. Multiple regression analyses indicated that litigation was not the primary predictor of downtime or medication use. Litigation was found to be the primary predictor of Zung depression scores. Discriminant function analyses indicated that litigation was not the most important variable in distinguishing between those working and not working. Results lend support to previous studies that suggest that the suspicion and disbelief with which litigating patients are often treated is unfounded.
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