Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

1-1-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Annmarie Cano

Abstract

Chronic pain is an important public health problem that is associated with a host of negative individual and relationship outcomes. The purpose of this study was to identify mindfulness, empathy and perceived support in marital relationships, all characteristics of a healthy marital relationship, as important correlates of mental health, relationship health, and health-related quality of life in couples with chronic pain. Participants were contacted as the fourth phase of a longitudinal study on couples with chronic pain in the Metro Detroit Area. Both the patient and spouse individually completed questionnaires pertaining to their marriage, mood, pain and personality. Spouse's and patient's mindfulness was associated with a variety of spouse's support behaviors, such as perceived partner responsiveness and negative spouse responses to patient's pain, and patient's psychological and marital health measures. Further, spouse's support behaviors such as perceived partner responsiveness and negative spouse responses to the patient's pain mediated the associations between spouse's mindfulness and patient's marital satisfaction. Because chronic pain is an issue that influences many aspects of intrapersonal and interpersonal factors, increasing both patient and spouse mindfulness may be a beneficial intervention in maintaining quality of life for individuals with chronic pain and their spouses.

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