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Studies on the determinants of pain-related support are needed to enhance couples-based treatments for pain. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which pain catastrophizing and perceived entitlement to pain-related support (i.e., support entitlement) were associated with perceived and observed social support. Participants were 106 chronic pain couples recruited from the community. They completed surveys as well as an observational discussion task. Greater support entitlement in persons with pain was correlated positively with pain catastrophizing, punishing spouse responses, and observed spousal invalidation but negatively correlated with perceived spousal support, solicitous spouse responses, and observed validation. Catastrophizing was correlated with perceptions of general spousal support but not the other support variables. Hierarchical regression analyses demonstrated that among persons with lower levels of support entitlement, catastrophizing was associated with greater solicitous spouse responses. Among those with a greater entitlement to support, catastrophizing was associated with greater punishing spouse responses and observed invalidation by the spouse. These results suggest that support entitlement plays an important role in couples’ supportive interactions about pain. Continued research is needed to determine how a desire for pain-related attention and support and catastrophizing translate into behaviors that affect support provision and receipt.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This article is the author’s final version after peer-review. A publisher version (Elsevier) of this article previously appeared in Pain, (147(1-3), 2009), available at

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