What is it about?

Not all forms of social support, albeit well-intentioned, are beneficial in a chronic pain context. In this prospective study with older adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain attending day care centers, we investigated the temporal relationships, over 3 months, between their chronic pain outcomes, their activity patterns and staff's social support for functional dependence.

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Why is it important?

Older adults with worse chronic musculoskeletal pain outcomes report receiving from daycare centers’ staff more support promoting their functional dependence. In turn, more support for functional dependence also predicts poorer pain outcomes and, most importantly, less activity engagement over time. Formal caregivers are encouraged to notice the role such interpersonal supportive exchanges in older adults’ chronic adaptation processes.


I hope this article raises awareness about the important role formal caregivers may play in older adults' adjustment to chronic pain conditions. Helping formal caregivers to differentiate what are helpful and unhelpful ways of providing pain-related social support is vital.

PhD Sónia Figueira Bernardes
ISCTE-Instituto Universitario de Lisboa

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Social support for functional dependence, activity patterns, and chronic pain outcomes: A cross-lagged mediation panel study., Health Psychology, March 2024, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/hea0001370.
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