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The primary objective of this study was to examine whether individuals with chronic pain (“participants”) and their spouses agree on perceptions of solicitous, distracting, and punishing spouse responses to pain. The second aim was to examine the role of participant catastrophizing (a negative mental set about pain), participant and spouse marital satisfaction, and participant and spouse depression in participant perceptions of spouse responses, spouse perceptions of their responses, and agreement between participants and spouses. Individuals with chronic musculoskeletal pain and their spouses (N=108 couples) completed questionnaire packets. Examination of overall group averages (participants vs. spouses) indicated little or no differences between participant and spouse ratings. Examination of individual agreement in participant and spouse ratings indicated substantial disagreement. The proposed moderators predicted both participant and spouse perceptions and jointly made minor contributions to dyad agreement. Although neither participant nor spouse perceptions of spouse responses are necessarily a reflection of actual behavior, the lack of agreement in this study suggests it may not be valid to use only patient perceptions in research related to spouse responses.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This article is the author's manuscript and was previously published in final edited form as: J Behav Med. 2006 December ; 29(6): 511–522.

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