Original report| Volume 9, ISSUE 5, P434-442, May 2008

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The Mediating Role of Depression and Negative Partner Responses in Chronic Low Back Pain and Relationship Satisfaction


      Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a prevalent pain condition associated with increased disability, lower quality of life, and poor relationship satisfaction. However, little research has examined the impact of the psychosocial environment in predicting relationship satisfaction among persons with CLBP. This study examined empirically supported psychosocial variables as potential mediators in the association between pain and relationship satisfaction. Patients with CLBP completed depression, partner support, pain, relationship satisfaction, pain catastrophizing, and pain-related fear measures (N = 54). Negative responses by a partner and depression were found to mediate the association between pain and relationship satisfaction, with negative responses emerging as the most important mediator. The current findings are consistent with a biopsychosocial framework of chronic pain and suggest that negative interpersonal interactions in patients with CLBP may be of central importance when considering psychosocial intervention. Theoretical and practical implications for treatment are discussed.


      This study suggests that psychosocial variables, specifically depression and perceived negative partner responses, have a significant impact on relationship satisfaction among individuals with CLBP. These findings highlight issues integral to the social adjustment of patients with CLBP.

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