Emotional regulation processes: influence on pain and disability in fibromyalgia patients

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2020 Jan-Feb;38 Suppl 123(1):40-46. Epub 2020 Jan 9.


Objectives: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic syndrome characterised by widespread musculoskeletal pain associated with other symptoms, including psychological distress. While negative mood (anxiety, depression, and anger) has been widely explored in FM, few studies have investigated emotional dysregulation. Our purpose was to evaluate problems in the processes of emotional regulation and to explore their influence on the severity of pain and disability.

Methods: Emotional regulations, anxiety, depression, anger, pain and disability were evaluated in 47 FM patients and 47 healthy subjects. Regression analyses were performed to evaluate the role that emotional regulation processes have on pain severity and disability of FM patients.

Results: Results showed that although FM patients do not differ in terms of the attention paid to their emotional states, FM patients had greater difficulties in the emotional regulation process. In addition, emotional rejection and interference are two variables that influence the pain severity and disability.

Conclusions: FM patients need to be trained in strategies for regulating their emotions, in order to achieve a reduction in negative mood states, as well as their impact in pain and disability.

MeSH terms

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Emotional Regulation*
  • Fibromyalgia / physiopathology
  • Fibromyalgia / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain / psychology*