A computer-assisted observational method for assessing spouses' ratings of osteoarthritis patients' pain
This article presents preliminary data on a new method for analysing spouses' ratings of their marital partner's pain. Subjects were 19 individuals with persistent osteoarthritic knee pain and their spouses. Spouses viewed a videotape of the patient engaging in a series of daily activities (sitting, walking, standing, and reclining) and simultaneously made continuous ratings of the patient's pain using a computer-controlled mouse. Ratings made by the spouse were directly compared to ratings of pain provided by the patient to establish agreement about both the mean level of pain as well as the temporal synchrony between patients' and spouses' ratings. There was a significant positive correlation between spouses' mean ratings of pain and the patient's mean ratings of their own pain. However, when individual patient-spouse dyads were examined separately using time series analyse's individual differences in synchrony were clearly apparent. In some couples there was very high synchrony between patient's and spouse's ratings, while in other couples there was very low synchrony between these ratings. The level of synchrony was found to be higher in couples where the spouse was female and in which the patient had pain for a shorter duration or lower levels of physical disability. Although these findings are preliminary, they suggest that further research using this approach is warranted.
Beaupre, P; Keefe, FJ; Lester, N; Affleck, G; Freedrickson, B; Caldwell, DS
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