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Individual and dyadic coping in chronic pain patients

Authors Burri A, Blank Gebre M, Bodenmann G

Received 28 November 2016

Accepted for publication 27 January 2017

Published 7 March 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 535—544

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S128871

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Katherine Hanlon

Andrea Burri,1–3 Michèle Blank Gebre,4 Guy Bodenmann1

1Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; 2Health and Rehabilitation Research Institute, Auckland University of Technology, 3Waitemata Pain Service, Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, North Shore Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand; 4Private Practice, Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract: The purpose of the current cross-sectional study was to test the associations between individual coping responses to pain, dyadic coping, and perceived social support, with a number of pain outcomes, including pain intensity, functional disability, and pain adjustment, in a sample of N = 43 patients suffering from chronic pain in Switzerland. In contrast to previous research, we were interested not only in specific pain coping but also in more general stress coping strategies and their potential influence on pain outcomes. Analyses were performed using correlation and regression analyses. “Praying and hoping” turned out to be an independent predictor of higher pain intensity and higher anxiety levels, whereas both “coping self-instructions” and “diverting attention” were associated with higher well-being, less feelings of helplessness, and less depression and anxiety. We further found a link between “focusing on and venting emotions” and “worse pain adjustment”. No significant relationship between dyadic coping and social support with any of our pain outcomes could be observed. Overall, our results indicate that individual coping strategies outweigh the effects of social support and dyadic coping on pain-related outcomes and pain adjustment. However, results need to be interpreted with caution given the small sample size.

Keywords: individual coping, dyadic coping, social support, chronic pain

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