Psychoneuroendocrine:  Research Article

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Stress and Pain Behavior
CITATION: Lauren Schwartz, Mark A. Slater, and Gary R. Birchler.  (1994).  Interpersonal Stress and Pain Behaviors in Patients with Chronic Pain.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 62, No. 4, 861-864  

ABSTRACT:  This study was designed to empirically evaluate the role of interpersonal stress in eliciting pain behavior. Thirty-four married male patients with chronic back pain (CBP) and their wives participated in a randomized between-groups study examining the effects oft interactional conditions (i.e., maritally focused stress interview and neutral talking control task) on subsequent persistence in a physically demanding task and with self-reports of pain. Results indicated that a significantly greater proportion of patients in the stress interview group terminated the physical activity task prematurely, compared with controls. The findings provide some of the first experimental support for the notion that uncomfortable interpersonal interactions may increase the likelihood of subsequent pain behavior in patients with CBP. Clinical implications and directions for future research are addressed.


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