Associations of Pain Intensity and Frequency With Loneliness, Hostility, and Social Functioning: Cross-Sectional, Longitudinal, and Within-Person Relationships

Ian A. Boggero, John A. Sturgeon, Anne Arewasikporn, Saul A. Castro, Christopher D. King, Suzanne C. Segerstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: The current studies investigated associations between pain intensity and pain frequency with loneliness, hostility, and social functioning using cross-sectional, longitudinal, and within-person data from community-dwelling adults with varying levels of pain. Method: Secondary analysis of preexisting data was conducted. Study 1 investigated cross-sectional (baseline data: n = 741) and longitudinal (follow-up data: n = 549, observed range between baseline and follow-up: 6–53 months) associations. Study 2 tested within-person associations using daily diaries across 30 days from a subset of the participants in Study 1 (n = 69). Results: Cross-sectionally, pain intensity and frequency were associated with higher loneliness (β intensity = 0.16, β frequency = 0.17) and worse social functioning (β intensity = − 0.40, β frequency = − 0.34). Intensity was also associated with higher hostility (β = 0.11). Longitudinally, pain intensity at baseline predicted hostility (β = 0.19) and social functioning (β = − 0.20) at follow-up, whereas pain frequency only predicted social functioning (β = − 0.21). Within people, participants reported higher hostility (γ = 0.002) and worse social functioning (γ = − 0.013) on days with higher pain, and a significant average pain by daily pain interaction was found for loneliness. Pain intensity did not predict social well-being variables on the following day. Conclusion: Pain intensity and frequency were associated with social well-being, although the effects were dependent on the social well-being outcome and the time course being examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-229
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding Information This research was funded by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers F31AG048692, R01AG026006, and K02AG033629 and by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society under Award Number MB0026.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, International Society of Behavioral Medicine.


  • Acute pain
  • Biopsychosocial
  • Community-dwelling adults
  • Social well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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