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We examined congruence between chronic pain patients and their spouses on their reports of patient pain severity, patient disability, and spouse responses to pain. Patients reported that they were more physically and psychosocially disabled than their spouses reported them to be. However, spouses reported that the patients’ pain was more severe than patients reported. Depressive disorders in the patient and gender interacted with patient–spouse ratings. For physical and psychosocial disability, depressed patient couples reported significantly larger differences in disability ratings than nondepressed patient couples. In addition, female patients’ disability was rated as more severe by the female patients than by their husbands. Male patient couples did not report differences on physical disability. Findings relating to other forms of disability and to spouse responses are also described.The results are discussed in the context of an interpersonal perspective of chronic pain and have implications for the assessment of pain and disability.


Psychology | Rehabilitation and Therapy | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This article is the author's manuscript and was previously published in final edited form as: Pain. 2004 June ; 109(3): 258–265. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2004.01.036