Masters Thesis

Social Support as a Moderator between Stress and Chronic Pain in Older Adults with Fibromyalgia.

The etiology of fibromyalgia is unknown; thus, research on the psychosocial factors contributing to the symptomatology of fibromyalgia is an important area of study. Research indicates that perceived stress and perceived social support affect the experience of chronic pain, but the relationship between the two has been under-studied. The purpose of this study is to explore the association between perceived stress, perceived social support and chronic pain among older adults with and without fibromyalgia. Social support was tested as a moderator of the relationship between stress and pain. Results revealed that social support did not significantly moderate the relationship between stress and pain in either the fibromyalgia or control group. However, stress was found to be strongly associated with pain among people with fibromyalgia. In contrast, among those without fibromyalgia, social support was related to chronic pain but stress was not. These findings demonstrate that perceived stress and perceived social support may play an important role in the expression of chronic pain among older adults. Future research should further investigate the impact psychosocial factors have on chronic pain disorders, more specifically fibromyalgia.

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