Multilevel analysis of couple congruence on pain, interference, and disability

Pain. 2005 Dec 5;118(3):369-379. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2005.09.003. Epub 2005 Nov 14.


Couple congruence on ratings of pain severity and disability were examined using hierarchical linear modeling. Older community Individuals with Chronic Pain (ICPs) and their spouses completed the Multidimensional Pain Inventory (pain severity, interference, negative spouse responses to pain), Sickness Impact Profile (physical disability, psychosocial disability), and the Mood and Anxiety Symptom Questionnaire (psychological distress). Both spouses reported on ICPs' pain and disability as well as their own psychological distress. Spousal incongruence was observed on interference and physical disability such that ICPs reported greater disability than their spouses reported for them. No significant incongruence was observed in pain severity or psychosocial disability. Predictors of couples' mean ratings of pain and disability were identified. Specifically, couples in which the ICP was female reported higher couples' ratings of pain severity and interference. ICP distress was related to higher couples' ratings of all pain and disability variables whereas spouse distress was related to higher psychosocial disability ratings. ICPs' perceptions of negative spouse responses were also positively associated with couples' ratings of physical and psychosocial disability. In terms of congruence, ICP distress was associated with incongruence on interference, physical disability, and psychosocial disability whereas spouse distress predicted incongruence on pain severity, and interference. This study suggests that understanding couples' pain outcome ratings involves an awareness of factors that might influence their perceptions and behaviors.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Caregivers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Comorbidity
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain Measurement / psychology
  • Pain Measurement / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stress, Physiological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Physiological / epidemiology*
  • Stress, Physiological / psychology
  • United States / epidemiology