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Chronic pain and positive emotions : a systematic review

Keeris, D. (2015) Chronic pain and positive emotions : a systematic review.

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Abstract:Background: Chronic pain is a longlasting disorder that requires attention: with 19% of the adult European population suffering from chronic pain, it is not something that should be ignored. Only since recent times has the area of chronic pain and positive emotions been studied, but so far the results have been promising. The severity of the issue and novelty of the topic mean that there is need for comprehensive work in this field. Objective: This systematic review aims to investigate a possible relationship between chronic pain and positive emotions by summarising current research done in this area. Method: This review is based on a select few articles that discuss a relationship between chronic pain and positive emotions. These articles were gathered through a systematic literature search that focused on two search constructs consisting of key terms relating to both chronic pain as well as positive emotions. The initial 1531 search results were brought down to eight by systematic filtering based on the title, abstract, and content of the articles. The remaining eight articles were categorised into four sections. Results: The results showed that there are multiple relationships between chronic pain and positive emotions. A direct negative relationship was confirmed in several studies with more positive emotions leading to less chronic pain. Further results show an indirect effect of negative affect or pain catastrophising on the relationship between the two main concepts. Conclusion: Based on mainly longitudinal studies a significant relationship between chronic pain and positive emotions was found, with pain catastrophising and negative emotions both playing a role in the indirect relationship. Relationships have also been found between positive and negative affect, and between pain catastrophising and emotions in general. It is plausible that positive affect helps chronic pain patients in reaching an upward spiral towards emotional well-being. These conclusions are largely based on cross-sectional and longitudinal studies.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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