Positive Encounters as a Buffer: Pain and Sleep Disturbances in Older Adults’ Everyday Lives

Meng Huo, Yee To Ng, Jamie L. Fuentecilla, Kate Leger, Susan T. Charles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: To test whether older adults’ pain was bidirectionally associated with nighttime sleep disturbances and whether daily positive encounters attenuated these associations. Methods: Participants (N = 292, mean = 73.71 years old) from the Daily Experiences and Well-being Study indicated pain and positive encounters with close partners (e.g., family and friends) and nonclose partners (e.g., acquaintances and service providers) every 3 hours throughout each day across 4–6 days. They also reported nighttime sleep disturbances the following morning. Results: Multilevel models revealed that participants with more prior nighttime sleep disturbances reported more severe pain the next day. This link was attenuated on days when participants had a greater proportion of positive encounters or viewed encounters as more pleasant, especially when these encounters occurred with close partners. Discussion: This study identifies benefits of positive encounters to older adults and sheds light on ways that may alleviate their pain from a social perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • closeness
  • daily diaries
  • pain
  • positive encounters
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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