Objective: The purpose of this study is to examine positive affect (PA) as a factor of resilience in the relationships between pain and negative affect (NA) in a sample of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Methods: Forty-three patients (30 women; mean age, 57 years) were interviewed weekly by telephone for 8 weeks. Multilevel modeling was applied to study the within-week relationships among the variables.
Results: There was a Pain x PA interaction effect on NA (beta=-0.05, P<.01) indicating a weaker relationship between pain and NA in weeks with more PA. Pain (beta=0.37, P<.002), interpersonal stress (beta=2.42, P<.001), depression (beta=0.26, P<.01), average perceived stress (beta=10.80, P<.001), and also weekly PA (beta=-0.1, P<.01) had a main effect upon NA.
Conclusion: Positive affect is most influential in reducing NA during weeks of higher pain and may be a factor of resilience, helping patients experiencing pain fluctuations as less distressful than at lower levels of PA.