Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2021

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Jo Armour Smith


Stressor events, such as COVID-19, may trigger adaptive or maladaptive pain management strategies among individuals with persistent low back pain (LBP). Individuals with lower fear avoidance, depression and anxiety, and greater positive affect and quality of life may better maintain positive pain management strategies during stressor events. This study investigated psychosocial characteristics of individuals with LBP who demonstrated adaptive pain management strategies during COVID-19, indicated by maintenance of physical activity (PA). Individuals with persistent LBP (age 22.4 (3.4) years, n=25) from an existing longitudinal cohort participated. Participants completed a baseline survey prior to COVID-19 quantifying demographics, pain characteristics, the Physical Activity Scale, the WHOQOL-Bref, Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scales, and Trait Affect scale. Participants then completed follow-up surveys for 18 months. During COVID-19 lockdown, the impact of lockdown on PA was assessed. The cohort was dichotomized into individuals reporting the same or more PA (MPA) and those reporting less PA (LPA) and baseline characteristics were compared between groups. There were 17 individuals in the LPA group and 8 in the MPA group. The MPA group had greater duration of LBP symptoms (p=0.015, d =1.16). The MPA group trended towards higher physical quality of life (p=0.101, d=0.79) and higher environmental quality of life (p=0.057, d=0.96) at baseline and had lower negative affect (fatigue domain) scores than the LPA group (p=0.038, d=0.86). Depression scores were lower in the MPA group (p=0.006, d=1.12). Individuals with persistent LBP who had greater duration of symptoms, better physical and environmental quality of life, lower negative affect, and less depression were more likely to maintain or increase physical activity during COVID-19. These characteristics may facilitate positive adaptation to a stressor event.


Presented at the virtual Fall 2021 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.

This scholarship is part of the Chapman University COVID-19 Archives.