Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Pain Research and Treatment




Article ID 928473, 8 pages

DOI of Original Publication



Originally published at

Date of Submission

August 2014


We examined the relationship between marital status and a 2-stage model of pain-related effect, consisting of pain unpleasantness and suffering. We studied 1914 chronic pain patients using multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) to clarify whether marital status was a determinant factor in the emotional or ideational suffering associated with chronic pain after controlling for pain sensation intensity, age, and ethnicity. Marital status was unrelated to immediate unpleasantness (). We found a strong association with emotional suffering () but not with negative illness beliefs (). Interestingly, widowed subjects experienced significantly less frustration, fear, and anger than all other groups (married, divorced, separated, or single). A final MANCOVA including sex as a covariate revealed that the emotional response to pain was the same for both widow and widower. Only those individuals whose spouse died experienced less emotional turmoil in the face of a condition threatening their lifestyle. These data suggest that after experiencing the death of a spouse, an individual may derive some “emotional inoculation” against future lifestyle threat.


Copyright © 2013 James B. Wade et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Is Part Of

VCU Psychiatry Publications