Social context and acceptance of chronic pain: The role of solicitious and punishing responses

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APA Citation: 

McCracken, L. M. (2005). Social context and acceptance of chronic pain: The role of solicitous and punishing responses. Pain, 113, 155-159.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Empirical
Publication Type: 
Chronic pain; Behavioral models; Social influences; Acceptance; Multidisciplinary treatment

Much of the behavior of chronic pain sufferers happens in social contexts where social influences can play a role in their suffering and disability. Researchers have investigated relations of social responses with verbal and overt pain behavior and, more recently, with patient thinking, such as catastrophizing. There has not yet been a study of social influences on patient acceptance of chronic pain. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relations between solicitous, punishing, and distracting responses, from significant others in the patient’s life, with components of patient acceptance of pain. 228 consecutive patients referred to a multidisciplinary pain center provided data for this study including their responses to the Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire and the Multidimensional Pain Inventory. Primary results showed that, as predicted, both solicitous and punishing responses from significant others were negatively associated with acceptance of pain. These relations remained, independent of patient age, education, pain level, and level of general support from the significant other. These results suggest that social influences can play a role in patients’ engagement in activity with pain present and their willingness to have pain without trying to avoid or control it.

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