Adjustment to fibromyalgia: The role of domain-specific self-efficacy and acceptance

Sahar, Karan; Thomas, Shirley A. and Clarke, Simon P. (2016). Adjustment to fibromyalgia: The role of domain-specific self-efficacy and acceptance. Australian Journal of Psychology, 68(1) pp. 29–37.




Fibromyalgia is a long‐term condition of unknown aetiology characterised by widespread pain, fatigue, joint stiffness, and tenderness. Research in long‐term conditions traditionally focuses on negative aspects of coping. The objective of this study therefore was to investigate the role of positive factors such as self‐efficacy and acceptance in the context of adjustment to fibromyalgia.


The study employed a cross‐sectional design using online questionnaires measuring self‐efficacy, acceptance, kinesiophobia, coping, catastrophising, pain intensity, and fibromyalgia impact. A total of 117 participants with fibromyalgia (99 female) were recruited from fibromyalgia support‐groups, organisations, and online forums.


Data were analysed using multiple regression analysis. After controlling for other cognitive and demographic variables, pain self‐efficacy remained a significant predictor of pain intensity (p = .003); symptom self‐efficacy remained the best predictor of psychological fibromyalgia impact (p = .001); and function self‐efficacy remained the best predictor of functional (p < .001) and total fibromyalgia impact (p < .001). However, the contribution of acceptance upon pain intensity and fibromyalgia impact was not significant.


The results highlight the impact of different self‐efficacy domains on pain intensity in terms functional, psychological, and total adjustment to fibromyalgia, but suggest that the role of acceptance on these domains is less salient. The implications of these findings for future studies in self‐efficacy and fibromyalgia are discussed.

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