Original Report| Volume 17, ISSUE 1, P65-75, January 2016

Pain-Contingent Interruption and Resumption of Work Goals: A Within-Day Diary Analysis

Published:October 09, 2015DOI:


      • Pain attributions are related to more frustration with work goal non-pursuit.
      • Frustration with work goal non-pursuit is positively related to goal resumption.
      • Frustration mediates the relation between pain attributions and goal resumption.
      • As trait stress increases, the pain attributions-frustration relation increases.
      • As chronic pain severity increases, the odds of work goal resumption increase.


      Daily pain-related attributions for and negative affective reactions to the nonpursuit of work goals and individual differences in chronic pain severity and stress were used to predict work goal resumption in a sample of 131 adults with chronic pain. Variables were assessed via questionnaires and a 21-day diary. On days when participants reported nonpursuit of work goals in the afternoon, increases in pain-related attributions for goal interruption were positively associated with higher negative affective reactions which, in turn, were associated with an increased likelihood of same-day work goal resumption. Stress amplified the relation between pain-related attributions and negative affective reactions, and chronic pain severity was positively related to work goal resumption.


      Under certain circumstances, chronic pain and pain-related attributions can have positive motivational effects on work goal resumption. The findings of the present study may contribute to the development of interruption management techniques in vocational settings that leverage the roles of pain-related attributions, goal cognition, and emotionality.

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