Chronic pain patient-spouse behavioral interactions predict patient disability

Pain. 1995 Dec;63(3):353-360. doi: 10.1016/0304-3959(95)00062-3.


Based on behavioral theory, it has been hypothesized that spouse solicitous responses to the pain behaviors of chronic pain patients may contribute to the maintenance of pain behaviors and disability. Self-report data support this hypothesis, but direct observational measures have not been used to study this association. In this study, 50 chronic pain patients and their spouses were videotaped while engaging in common household activities. and patient pain behaviors and spouse solicitous behaviors were coded from the tapes. Spouse solicitous responses to non-verbal pain behaviors were significant predictors of physical disability in the more depressed patients, and were significant predictors of rate of non-verbal pain behavior in patients who reported greater pain. Spouse solicitous responses did not predict psychosocial dysfunction or total self-reported pain behaviors. The result support behavioral theory and indicate the need for further study of the association between spouse solicitousness and patient pain behaviors/disability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavior
  • Chronic Disease
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / psychology
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / complications
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Spouses / psychology*