A biopsychosocial formulation of pain communication

Psychol Bull. 2011 Nov;137(6):910-939. doi: 10.1037/a0023876.


We present a detailed framework for understanding the numerous and complicated interactions among psychological and social determinants of pain through examination of the process of pain communication. The focus is on an improved understanding of immediate dyadic transactions during painful events in the context of broader social phenomena. Fine-grain consideration of social transactions during pain leads to an appreciation of sociobehavioral events affecting both suffering persons as well as caregivers. Our examination considers knowledge from a variety of perspectives, including clinical health psychology, social and developmental processes, evolutionary psychology, communication studies, and behavioral neuroscience.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Brain / physiology
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Pain / physiopathology
  • Chronic Pain / psychology
  • Communication*
  • Facial Expression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Neurosciences*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Perception / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Social Behavior*