Research has shown that individuals experience pain differently depending on who is present when pain is being assessed. Thus, it is reasonable to suspect that individuals’ pain experience may be affected by their coresidence partners. This study examined a group of patients receiving home health care to elucidate the relationship between coresidence partners and pain interference.
Mixed associations have been observed between various aspects of ‘social support’ and patient pain experiences
To explore the possibility that more basic social factors, namely coresidence patterns, may be associated with variability in patient pain experiences.
Relationships between coresidence partners and self-reported pain that interferes with activities were examined in a large representative sample of home health care patients (n=11,436; age range 18 to 107 years, mean [± SD] age 66.3±16.1 years; 55% females).
After controlling for sex, age and behavioural risks, compared with living alone, coresidence with an intimate affiliate (eg, spouse, relative) predicted greater pain interference (Cohen’s d = 0.10 to 1.72), and coresidence with a less intimate type of affiliate (eg, friend, paid help) predicted lower pain interference (Cohen’s d = −0.21 tö0.83). In general, however, coresidence patterns accounted for small proportions of variance in pain interference, and the magnitudes of these effects varied widely according to patients’ sex, age and diagnosis.
The findings suggest that fundamental components of patient’s home-living environment may be associated with potential costs and benefits related to clinically relevant pain functioning for some subgroups of patients.
Further research that incorporates quantitative and qualitative assessments of patient pain functioning is warranted to better understand how objective and subjective characteristics of patients’ home-living environment may inform the development of more individualized pain treatment options for patients with differing social circumstances.