The role of catastrophizing in vulvovaginal pain: Impact on pain and partner responses over time
The aim of this prospective study was to explore the role of catastrophizing in vulvovaginal pain. The study entails two research questions. The first question was whether catastrophizing predicts the occurrence of vulvovaginal pain. The second question focused on exploring the links between catastrophizing, partner responses and pain. Five hundred and ten women filled out questionnaires at two measurement points, 10months apart. The women were divided into three groups based on levels of catastrophizing. To study the first research question, the groups were used as predictors of pain at follow-up. To study the second research question, the groups were compared regarding their perceived solicitous partner responses. Subsequently, two mediation models were tested to explore whether catastrophizing mediated the relationship between solicitous partner responses and pain, cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Baseline levels of catastrophizing distinguished between pain and no pain 10months later. High catastrophizers reported higher levels of solicitous partner responses than low catastrophizers. The mediation analyses revealed catastrophizing as a significant mediator between solicitous partner responses and pain, cross-sectionally and over time. The findings support catastrophizing as being an important factor in women with vulvovaginal pain, cross-sectionally and over time.