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Hope, Optimism, and Clinical Pain: A Meta-Analysis.
Shanahan ML, Fischer IC, Hirsh AT, Stewart JC, Rand KL. Hope, Optimism, and Clinical Pain: A Meta-Analysis. Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. 2021 Aug 23; 55(9):815-832.
Generalized expectancies have been theorized to play key roles in pain-related outcomes, but the empirical findings have been mixed.
The primary aim of this meta-analysis was to quantify the relationships between two of the most researched positive generalized expectancies (i.e., hope and optimism) and pain-related outcomes (i.e., pain severity, physical functioning, and psychological dysfunction) for those experiencing clinical pain.
A total of 96 studies and 31,780 participants with a broad array of pain diagnoses were included in analyses, using random-effects models.
Both hope and optimism had negative correlations with pain severity (hope: r = -.168, p < .001; optimism: r = -.157, p < .001), positive correlations with physical functioning (hope: r = .199, p < .001; optimism: r = .175, p < .001), and negative correlations with psychological dysfunction (hope: r = -.349, p = .001; optimism: r = -.430, p < .001).
The current findings suggest that hope and optimism are similarly associated with adaptive pain-related outcomes. Future research should examine the efficacy of interventions on hope and optimism in ameliorating the experience of clinical pain.