OBJECTIVE - The objective of this study was to determine the degree to which patient anger arousal and behavioral anger regulation (expression, inhibition) occurring in the course of daily life was related to patient pain and function as rated by patients and their spouses.
METHOD - Married couples (N = 105) (one spouse with chronic low back pain) completed electronic daily diaries, with assessments 5 times/day for 14 days. Patients completed items on their own state anger, behavioral anger expression and inhibition, and pain-related factors. Spouses completed items on their observations of patient pain-related factors. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to test concurrent and lagged relationships.
RESULTS - Patient-reported increases in state anger were related to their reports of concurrent increases in pain and pain interference and to spouse reports of patient pain and pain behavior. Patient-reported increases in behavioral anger expression were related to lagged increases in pain intensity and interference and decreases in function. Most of these relationships remained significant with state anger controlled. Patient-reported increases in behavioral anger inhibition were related to concurrent increases in pain interference and decreases in function, which also remained significant with state anger controlled. Patient-reported increases in state anger were related to lagged increases in spouse reports of patient pain intensity and pain behaviors.
CONCLUSIONS - Results indicate that in patients with chronic pain, anger arousal and behavioral anger expression and inhibition in everyday life are related to elevated pain intensity and decreased function as reported by patients. Spouse ratings show some degree of concordance with patient reports.
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