Document Type



To date, pain research has focused almost exclusively on operant models to interpret the function and predict the consequences of pain-related interaction in chronic pain couples. However, evidence suggests that intimacy models of interaction may provide additional and alternative explanations for pain interaction. Specifically, intimacy models conceptualize verbal complaints about pain-related distress as emotional disclosure, which the partner may validate or invalidate. This review compares and contrasts models of pain-related interaction in chronic pain couples, describes limitations of the existing research, and offers directions for future research drawing upon a social support framework.


Clinical Psychology | Health Psychology | 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, (149(1), 2010), available at