Together with colleagues at Ghent University, I study how verbal rules and instructions contribute to risk and resilience in the context of (paediatric) chronic pain. Research on chronic pain has traditionally focused on how direct contact with pain leads to maladaptive thoughts, feelings, and actions which set the stage for, and maintain, pain-related disability. Yet the capacity for verbal processes (instructions and rules) to put people into indirect contact with pain has never been systematically investigated. We recently developed a new framework on the relationship between verbal processes and chronic pain, and are currently combining daily-diary methods and network analyses to examine the antecedents and consequences that trigger pain-related rules and behaviour in chronic pain patients.


Beeckman, M., Simons, L., Hughes, S., Loeys, T., & Goubert, L. (2020). A Network Analytic Study of the Potential Antecedents and Consequences of Pain-Related Avoidance and Engagement in Adolescents. Pain Medicine, 21, e89-e101. Link.

Beeckman, M., Hughes, S., Kissi, A., Simons, L., & Goubert, L. (2019). How an Understanding of our Ability to Adhere to Verbal Rules can Increase Insight into (Mal)adaptive Functioning in Chronic Pain. The Journal of Pain, 10, 1141-1154. Link.

Beeckman, M., Hughes, S., Van Ryckeghem, D., Van Hoecke, E., Dehoorne, J., Joos, R., & Goubert, L., (2019). Resilience factors in children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and their parents: the role of child and parent psychological flexibility. Pain Medicine, 20, 1120-1131. Link.

Kissi, A., Hughes, S., Barnes-Holmes, D., De Houwer, J., & Crombez, G. (2017). Conceptual Advances in Studying Rule-Governed Behavior: A Systematic Review of Pliance, Tracking and Augmenting. Behavior Modification, 41(5), 683-707.