Operant behavioral models of chronic pain posit that the pain behaviors and disability of patients with chronic pain can be influenced by social contingencies, such as significant others' responses to pain and well behaviors. The aim of the present study was to develop and evaluate a comprehensive measure of spouse responses to patient pain and well behaviors, the Spouse Response Inventory (SRI). One hundred four patients with chronic pain and their spouses completed a battery of questionnaires, including the SRI. The final analysis yielded a 39-item inventory divided into 4 scales that assess spouse solicitous and negative responses to patient pain behaviors and spouse encouraging and negative responses to patient well behaviors. Analyses yielded results that were consistent with previous research demonstrating an association between spouse solicitous and negative responses to patient pain behaviors and measures of patient functioning, providing preliminary support for the validity of the SRI scales. The results are discussed in terms of implications for further research and the clinical applicability of the SRI.
Perspective: This article presents the psychometric properties of a new measure of spouse responses to patient chronic pain and well behavior. This measure could potentially be helpful to clinicians seeking to assess the extent to which spouse responses may contribute to patient pain and disability and also to researchers who wish to test hypotheses derived from operant theory as applied to chronic pain.