Glossary of terms

Activity scheduling

A basic cognitive-behavioural technique that involves scheduling incrementally and in advance daily pleasant activities, as well as activities which involve a sense of mastery and satisfaction.


A behavioural response characterised by a person dramatically exaggerating the negative possibilities in situations, and feeling helpless about them.

Customised outcome measures

Ad hoc measurement methods devised by the treating healthcare professional where the reliability, validity and sensitivity to change of the measure are generally not known. Customised outcome measures should relate to an injured person’s treatment goals, be functional, objective and measurable. For example, a customised outcome measure may describe how often (once a day, several times a day) or how far (50 metres, 100 metres) a person is able to walk in different environments.

Fear avoidance

A behavioural response to pain characterised by a person excessively restricting involvement in activities and exercises due to heightened fear or anxiety about pain or re-injury (i.e. worry that any pain could cause tissue damage).


Systematic and incremental practice of techniques, strategies or exercises carried out between treatment sessions.

Injured person

Any person who has a compensable transport accident or workplace injury.


The rate at which an activity or movement proceeds. Pacing assists the person to plan activities in manageable steps that can support them to perform an activity successfully and may assist them to avoid relapses of their condition. A pacing strategy may include instructing the injured person to attend to household tasks over a prescribed period of time with specified breaks and then gradually decreasing the prescribed time and/or reducing the specified breaks. Pacing strategies are designed to gradually increase tolerance for activities and movement.


Acute pain is described as ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage’.

Persistent or chronic pain lasts longer than three months. Persistent pain can persist after injuries heal and is usually the result of multiple biological and psychosocial factors. Neural pathways may become hypersensitive. Personality traits, mental health issues, restrictive beliefs and past experience can affect and reinforce the pain experience.


Enduring patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that uniquely characterise an individual. Traditionally, personality researchers distinguish the statistically ‘normal’ range of personality characteristics from ‘maladaptive personality traits’ and ‘personality disorders’. The presence of the latter two in an injured person’s presentation can significantly impede treatment responsiveness and increase the risk of long-term disability. Assessing and reducing the impact of personality characteristics is a specialist area of practice.

Psychological injury

A term to describe a range of mental disorders resulting from a transport accident or workplace injury that may include conditions such as, depression, anxiety, adjustment disorder and post traumatic stress.

Self efficacy

The belief, and the ability to act on that belief, that one has the capacity to positively influence the course of events in life and successfully perform particular behaviours which are needed to produce particular outcomes.

Standardised outcome measures

Measures that are applied in a prescribed manner and for which reliability, validity and sensitivity to change are known.