International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 270–279

Effects of Pain Controllability and Discrepancy in Social Support on Depressed Mood Among Patients with Chronic Pain

  • Sungkun Cho
  • Ira D. Zunin
  • Puihan J. Chao
  • Elaine M. Heiby
  • James McKoy

DOI: 10.1007/s12529-011-9175-4

Cite this article as:
Cho, S., Zunin, I.D., Chao, P.J. et al. Int.J. Behav. Med. (2012) 19: 270. doi:10.1007/s12529-011-9175-4



Preference of types of social support may vary across recipients, and social support that is less than the amount preferred may be associated with depressed mood.


This study aimed to investigate the interaction effects between pain controllability and discrepancy in social support and the additive utility of discrepancy in social support over perceived social support in predicting depressed mood among patients with chronic pain.


A total of 173 patients seeking treatment at two outpatient pain management clinics in Hawaii participated.


The results indicated that (1) patients with low pain controllability preferred significantly more social support than those with high pain controllability, for all types of social support; (2) patients preferred significantly more informational and emotional support than instrumental support for both pain controllability levels; (3) discrepancy in informational or instrumental support was not associated with depressed mood, whereas discrepancy in emotional support was significantly associated with more depressed mood for low pain controllability, but not for high pain controllability; and (4) discrepancy in emotional support added a significant increment of variance in predicting depressed mood over and above perceived emotional support, whereas discrepancy in informational or instrumental support did not.


Findings suggest the relative importance of discrepancy in emotional support from a significant other, especially for patients with low pain controllability.


Social support preferenceDiscrepancy in social supportDepressed moodPain controllabilityChronic pain

Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sungkun Cho
    • 1
  • Ira D. Zunin
    • 2
  • Puihan J. Chao
    • 3
  • Elaine M. Heiby
    • 3
  • James McKoy
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyChung-Ang UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Manakai-O Malama Integrative Healthcare Group and Rehabilitation CenterHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  4. 4.Neuroscience and Pain/Integrative MedicineHawaii Permanente Medical GroupHonoluluUSA