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Pain. 2007 Sep;131(1-2):202-13. Epub 2007 May 22.

One day at a time: The impact of daily satisfaction with spouse responses on pain, negative affect and catastrophizing among individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.

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Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4.


The majority of research on pain catastrophizing has focused on its negative consequences for adjustment to chronic pain, with few investigations of factors that influence catastrophizing or its detrimental effects. Using a daily process methodology, the current study examined, first, the extent to which a supportive social environment plays a role in reduced catastrophizing, and second, the extent to which support might protect against the detrimental effects of catastrophizing on well-being. Sixty-nine married individuals with rheumatoid arthritis took part in an initial background interview, followed by twice daily telephone interviews (regarding pain intensity, negative affect, catastrophizing and satisfaction with spouse responses) for 1 week. Multi-level modeling indicated several pathways through which satisfaction with spouse responses disrupts the vicious cycle of pain, negative affect and catastrophizing. Consistent with past research, catastrophizing was associated with increases in pain and negative affect. However, when individuals reported increases in satisfaction with spouse responses they were less likely to experience increases in negative affect due to catastrophizing. Satisfaction with spouse responses also reduced the likelihood of feeling overwhelmed and helpless in dealing with daily pain. The relationship between pain and catastrophizing was attenuated in the context of increases in satisfaction with spouse responses. Negative affect was associated with increases in catastrophizing, but only when individuals reported decreases in satisfaction with spouse responses. Overall, findings were consistent with a model in which satisfaction with spouse responses serves as a coping resource, and suggests the importance of involving close others in treatments to reduce pain and catastrophizing.

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