Causal attribution coping maxims differences between immigrants and non-immigrants suffering from back pain in Switzerland

Sarah Mantwill, Peter J. Schulz

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3 Scopus citations


Objectives This study aimed at investigating the relationship between causal attributions and coping maxims in people suffering from back pain. Further, it aimed at identifying in how far causal attributions and related coping maxims would defer between immigrants and non-immigrants in Switzerland. Methods Data for this study came from a larger survey study that was conducted among immigrant populations in the German-and Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Included in the analyses were native Swiss participants, as well as Albanian-and Serbian-speaking immigrants, who had indicated to have suffered from back pain within the last 12 months prior to the study. Data was analyzed for overall 495 participants. Items for causal attributions and coping maxims were subject to factor analyses. Cultural differences were assessed with ANOVA and regression analyses. Interaction terms were included to investigate whether the relationship between causal attributions and coping maxims would differ with cultural affiliation. Results For both immigrant groups the physician's influence on the course of their back pain was more important than for Swiss participants (p <.05). With regard to coping, both immigrant groups were more likely to agree with maxims that were related to the improvement of the back pain, as well as the acceptance of the current situation (p <.05). The only consistent interaction effect that was found indicated that being Albanian-speaking negatively moderated the relationship between physical activity as an attributed cause of back pain and all three identified coping maxims. Conclusion The study shows that differences in causal attribution and coping maxims between immigrants and non-immigrants exist. Further, the results support the assumption of an association between causal attribution and coping maxims. However cultural affiliation did not considerably moderate this relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0161758
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We have the following interests: This study received funding from SUVA. There are no patents, products in development or marketed products to declare. This does not alter our adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials, as detailed online in the guide for authors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Mantwill, Schulz. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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