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Does chronic pain affect a spouse's sleep?
Date:8/14/2013

Philadelphia, August 15, 2013 Research suggests that a patient's chronic pain affects a spouse's emotional well-being and marital satisfaction. In a novel study of behavioral health outcomes published in the journal PAIN, researchers examined the effects of patients' daily knee osteoarthritis pain on their spouses' nightly sleep. They determined that couples who expressed a high degree of closeness in their marriage experienced a stronger association between pain levels and the spouse's ability to sleep restfully. Findings further illustrated that chronic pain may place the spouse's health at risk and suggest an important therapeutic target for couples.

"Sleep is a critical health behavior, and individuals whose sleep is affected by their partner's pain are at risk for physical and psychiatric problems," says lead investigator Lynn M. Martire, PhD, Department of Human Development & Family Studies, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. "Spouses whose sleep is compromised may also be less able to respond empathically to patients' symptoms and need for support."

The research team chose to study knee pain because of the difficulty many patients experience in getting comfortable in bed and staying asleep. In addition, the resulting restlessness may disturb the patient's partner. Investigators sought to test two hypotheses:

  • Greater osteoarthritis pain during the day would be associated with poorer sleep for the spouse that night
  • A couple's degree of closeness affects the relationship between pain and sleep

The team collected data from 145 couples who recorded their levels of pain, sleep quality, and level of feeling rested or refreshed over 22 consecutive nights of sleep. Eligible participants were husbands or wives who had been diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis by a physician, who experienced usual knee pain of moderate or great intensity, were at least 50 years old, and were married or in
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Contact: Terry Materese
painmedia@elsevier.com
215-239-3196
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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