Older women with osteoarthritis and their caregiving husbands: Effects of pain and pain expression on husbands' well-being and support

Mary Ann Parris Stephens, Julie K. Cremeans-Smith, Lynn M. Martire, Jennifer A. Druley, William C. Wojno

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

32 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine the moderating effects of wives' pain expression (verbal disclosure, nonverbal behavior) on the relationship between wives' pain and husbands' well-being and support provision. Design: Interviews were conducted with couples at baseline; questionnaires were mailed 6 months later. Setting: All women were patients at a rheumatology clinic. Participants: The sample included older women (n = 101) with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA) and their caregiving husbands. Main Outcome Measures: Outcomes were husbands' psychological well-being (depressive symptoms, life satisfaction) and the quality of their support to wives (emotional support, critical attitudes). Results: Verbal and nonverbal expression of OA pain increased the likelihood that women experiencing severe pain would have husbands with poor psychological well-being. Moreover, verbal pain disclosure strengthened the association between the severity of wives' pain and less emotional support from husbands. Conclusions: Findings suggest that wives' verbal and nonverbal communications about their pain, especially about severe pain, have the potential to decrease the psychological well-being and support resources of their caregiving spouses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
JournalRehabilitation Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2006


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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