By Dr Andrea Firth-Clark

Pain has been defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage. Pain can divert attention from other stimuli onto the pain-focused situation which then requires further action. Such action is based on the level of current pain and the intensity of pain perception. Studies have indicated that pain perception and ability to function with pain can be influenced by perceived self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy plays a major part in daily functioning, affecting decision making, behavior and cognition. Stemming from social cognitive theory, self-efficacy concerns the ability to self-regulate and control personal destiny. It is generally thought to be specific in that it concerns personal evaluation of the ability to complete a specific task. However, it need not be restrained to specific situations and in terms of general self-efficacy can be broadly applied. This type of self-efficacy is central to coping ability and wide-scale functioning as it is directly linked to coping skills. Self-efficacy is a mediating factor in a number of coping mechanisms and positive behavioral health responses both psychologically and physically, including the ability to cope with pain. Self-efficacy
has also been found to be a mediating factor in self-regulation skills such as mindfulness skills which in turn is correlated with satisfaction with life.

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