chronic pain, PTSD, residential treatment, substance abuse, veteran



  1. Randleman, Mary L. MSN, RN
  2. Douglas, Mary E. MSN, RN
  3. DeLane, Alice M. MSN, RN, CNOR
  4. Palmer, Glen A. PhD, ABN


The purpose of this study was to identify whether veterans with chronic pain, substance abuse, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnoses residing in a Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (RRTP) perceived a higher level of pain than those veterans who had chronic pain but did not have active substance abuse issues or PTSD. A sample of veterans (n = 200) with chronic pain undergoing treatment for either chemical dependency and/or PTSD in an RRTP and a Surgical Specialty Care outpatient clinic at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center took part in the study. Multiple analysis of variance and further univariate statistics were examined to determine the association between groups on the different scales. There was a considerable difference in terms of which group of veterans perceived a higher rate of pain even with the use of the same four pain assessment scales (i.e., Numeric Rating, Visual Analog, Faces, and Mankoski). Scores were significantly higher for the RRTP group than the Surgical Specialty Care group on all screening measures (p < .001). Veterans with chronic pain, substance abuse, and/or PTSD diagnoses residing in an RRTP tended to have a higher perception of chronic pain compared to those without substance abuse or PTSD diagnoses.