This study investigated the relatioinship among healthy and maladaptive aspects of interpersonal dependency and the management of pain in physical therapy outpatients. Ninety-eight patients were given the Relationship Profile Test, West Haven-Yale Multidimensional Pain Inventory, and Pain Catastrophizing Scale. Results suggested that Destructive Overdependence was positively associated with an increased number of office visits, pain interference in one’s daily life, pain severity, affective distress, and receiving positive partner responses. Dysfunctional Detachment was associated with affective distress, pain interference in one’s daily life, and rumination about pain. Healthy Dependency was only associated with receiving distracting responses from others. Believing that a spouse/partner is supportive and caring about one’s pain partially mediated the relationship between overdependency and pain interfering in one’s life.
The results of this study back up the clinical utility of assessing interpersonal dependency for its relationship to managing an individual’s pain and health care utilization.