How significant is the Significant Other in patient coping in chronic pain?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Pain Manag, 2013, 3 (6), pp. 485 - 493
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SUMMARY While healthcare is most commonly focused at the individual level, considerable research has demonstrated that the presence and nature of the relationship with a significant other can play an important role in both mortality and morbidity. In the case of chronic pain, studies have shown that patient disability, mood and overall adjustment can be strongly influenced by the partner. The partner's responses to patient overt communications of pain have been examined in detail, with support for operant behavioral models of chronic pain generally found. However, more recent studies have extended the behavioral paradigm by exploring issues such as empathy, relationship intimacy and the cognitive patterns of patients and their partners, to better understand dyadic adjustment to chronic pain. Future work will broaden the investigation of the determinants of partner helping behaviors, by looking at pre-illness variables and their expression in a chronic pain relationship.
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