This study examined whether marital functioning variables related uniquely to psychological distress and diagnoses of depressive disorder independent of pain severity and physical disability. Participants were 110 chronic musculoskeletal pain patients. Hierarchical regression results showed that marital variables (i.e. marital satisfaction, negative spouse responses to pain) contributed significantly to depressive and anxiety symptoms over and above the effects of pain severity and physical disability. In contrast, marital variables were not significantly related to diagnoses of depressive disorder (i.e. major depression, dysthymia, or both) after controlling for pain variables. In multivariate analyses, physical disability and marital satisfaction were uniquely related to depressive symptoms whereas physical disability, pain severity, and negative spouse responses to pain were uniquely related to anxiety symptoms. Only physical disability was uniquely related to major depression. The results suggest that models of psychological distress in chronic pain patients might be enhanced by attributing greater importance to interpersonal functioning and increasing attention to anxiety.
Marital functioning, chronic pain, and psychological distress
Pain, Volume 107, Issues 1–2, January 2004, Pages 99–106