This literature review focuses on how the partner of an individual with chronic pain is affected by that pain. Results from the studies examined have been divided into four different categories of potential effects: household, physical, mental/emotional, and marital. The household consequences include items such as finances and role reversals for household tasks (West, Usher et al., 2012). The physical consequences consist of symptoms such as v arying pains and lack of sleep (Martire et al., 2013; Turk et al., 1987). The primary mental/ emotional consequence of having a spouse with chronic pain is distress, which can lead to issues such as depression (Ahern et al., 1985; Schwartz et al., 1991). Marital effects include decreased sexual relations and decreased marital satisfaction (Strunin & Boden, 2004). Despite many possible negative effects, the literature indicates that while some spouses struggle with the onset of chronic pain in their partner, many succeed or even thrive (West, Buettner et al., 2012). Spouses may be able to better cope or thrive despite their partner’s chronic pain when they receive support from their partner and from outside sources like psychologists (Subramanian, 1991). Additionally, it is important that spouses are included in creating a plan on how to handle the pain and how to handle the life changes it will bring (Leonard & Cano, 2006). Further research is needed to gain greater insight into what helps patients’ spouses to overcome the challenge of chronic pain in order to help these spouses live satisfying lives despite their partners’ chronic pain.

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