Three types of intimate relationships among individuals with chronic pain and a history of trauma exposure

Carissa van den Berk-Clark, Terri L. Weaver, F. David Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Individuals with chronic pain often have psychiatric disorders, such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can affect their intimate relationship satisfaction and stability. Little is known about the nature of support stemming from chronic pain patients’ intimate relationships, and therefore, this study sought to: (1) use cluster modeling to construct specific intimate relationship groups based on types of support patients receive, and (2) determine if there is a relationship between support type and PTSD, chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. Ward’s method of cluster analysis in Stata was used to create groups based on the level of informational, affirmation, confident, emotional, and fun support received from chronic pain patients’ most intimate relationship. Three types of support were identified: high (type 1, n = 17), high emotional/low instrumental (type 2, n = 9), and unstable (type 3, n = 15). Types 1 and 3 included more family members (Type 1: 100%, Type 2: 93%), than type 2 (77%). Type 2 patients experienced more trauma (Mean = 9.4 ± 1.7 vs. 7.5 ± 0.88 for types 1 and 3) and were significantly more likely to have PTSD (X2 = 7.91, p < 0.05. Patients with low familial support may also benefit from PTSD screening and referral but further study is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number68
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Chronic pain
  • PTSD
  • Social support
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Health Information Management
  • Leadership and Management


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