Affect and pain in rheumatoid arthritis: Do individual differences in affective regulation and affective intensity predict emotional recovery from pain?
- Cite this article as:
- Hamilton, N.A., Zautra, A.J. & Reich, J.W. ann. behav. med. (2005) 29: 216. doi:10.1207/s15324796abm2903_8
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Background: Individual differences in adaptation to rheumatoid arthritis are not fully accounted for by illness severity or duration of symptoms.Purpose: In this study, we assessed differences in affect regulation and affect intensity as variables that might be important for identifying women with rheumatoid arthritis who are resilient versus those who have disrupted moods following pain exacerbations.Method: Specifically, affective regulation, affect intensity, active coping, neuroticism and weekly reports of pain, positive affect, and negative affect were assessed in a sample of 81 women diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.Results: Our results indicated that affective regulation, affect intensity, and active coping played important but distinct roles in the ebb and flow of negative and positive affect. In particular, active coping was related to positive affect, whereas affective regulation and affect intensity showed interactive effects, moderating the prospective relationship between pain and negative affect and pain and positive affect.Conclusion: Overall, this study suggests that recovery from rheumatoid arthritis pain can be swift, except for those women who have difficulty regulating strong unpleasant affect.