Intra- and interindividual differences in the within-person coupling between daily pain and affect of older adults

Abstract

The bidirectional interplay between chronic pain and negative affect is well-established in patient samples. However, less is known about the day-to-day relationship between pain and affect of older adults without severe illnesses and to what extent this association differs within and between individuals. A total of 224 participants (Mage = 77.6, SDage = 6.2) reported their daily experience of pain, impairment by their pain and affect during 21 consecutive days. Multilevel modeling results showed that on days with increased pain individuals also reported less positive affect and more negative affect. Time-lagged results indicated a temporal carry-over from yesterday’s pain to today’s negative affect but not to today’s positive affect. Moreover, on days when individuals reported stronger impairment by their pain, they showed a stronger within-person coupling between daily pain and affect in contrast to days with a weaker experience of daily impairment. Yesterday’s pain and today’s negative affect were more strongly associated within individuals who reported higher levels of impairment. Interindividual differences in the within-person coupling between daily pain and affect were found with regard to general physical health conditions and general satisfaction with health. This study demonstrated the importance of focusing on within-person couplings between daily pain and affect beyond patient samples in order to better understand the maintenance of emotional stability despite daily hassles in older adults’ everyday lives.

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Acknowledgements

Work on the manuscript was supported by a grant from the Jacobs Foundation to the first author and by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF No. 159349) to the last author. During the work on his dissertation, Marko Katana was a pre-doctoral fellow of the International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course (LIFE, www.imprs-life.mpg.de; participating institutions: Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, University of Zurich). The authors wish to thank Barbara Dudli for collecting the data.

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Marko Katana, Christina Röcke and Mathias Allemand declare that they do not have any conflict of interest.

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Marko Katana, Department of Psychology and University Research Priority Program “Dynamics of Healthy Aging”, University of Zurich, Switzerland; Christina Röcke, Department of Psychology and University Research Priority Program “Dynamics of Healthy Aging”, University of Zurich, Switzerland; Mathias Allemand, Department of Psychology and University Research Priority Program “Dynamics of Healthy Aging”, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

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Katana, M., Röcke, C. & Allemand, M. Intra- and interindividual differences in the within-person coupling between daily pain and affect of older adults. J Behav Med 43, 707–722 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-019-00099-0

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Keywords

  • Daily affect
  • Pain
  • Interindividual differences
  • Older adults