Loneliness, daily pain, and perceptions of interpersonal events in adults with fibromyalgia

Laurie Dempsey Wolf, Mary C. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examined whether individual differences in loneliness and/or daily exacerbations in loneliness relate to daily pain and frequency and perception of interpersonal events among individuals with fibromyalgia (FM). Method: In total, 118 participants with FM completed electronic diaries each evening for 21 days to assess the occurrence of positive and negative interpersonal events, event appraisals, and pain. Multilevel modeling was used to examine relations of chronic and transitory loneliness to daily life outcomes, controlling for daily depressive symptoms. Results: Chronic and transitory loneliness were associated with more frequent reports of negative and less frequent reports of positive interpersonal daily events, higher daily stress ratings and lower daily enjoyment ratings, and higher daily pain levels. Neither chronic nor transitory loneliness moderated the relations between daily negative events and either stress appraisals or pain. However, both chronic and transitory loneliness moderated the relation between daily positive events and enjoyment appraisals. Specifically, on days of greater numbers of positive events than usual, lonely people had larger boosts in enjoyment than did nonlonely people. Similarly, days with greater than usual numbers of positive events were related to larger boosts in enjoyment if an individual was also experiencing higher than usual loneliness levels. Conclusions: Chronic and transient episodes of loneliness are associated with more negative daily social relations and pain. However, boosts in positive events yield greater boosts in day-to-day enjoyment of social relations for lonely versus nonlonely individuals, and during loneliness episodes, a finding that can inform future interventions for individuals with chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-937
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Enjoyment
  • Loneliness
  • Pain
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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