New research on relationships and chronic pain draws international attention

Dr. Annmaire Cano presenting at EHPSDr. Annmarie Cano, Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean in the Graduate School, will give a keynote address at the European Health Psychology Society (EHPS) meeting in Padova, Italy on September 1st. Dr. Cano’s research focuses on emotion regulation and intimacy in couples facing physical and mental health problems, with the long-term goal of developing interventions to improve couples' individual and relationship health and well-being. She was recently quoted in the New York Times on the subject, commenting on a separate, but related study of spouse hostility and chronic low back pain.

Her EHPS talk, “Partner responses to emotional disclosures of pain-related distress: Thinking outside the operant box,” will discuss a new line of research exploring the possibilities for interpersonal relationships and empathy models that reinforce emotional disclosures about illness. While health psychologists have long appreciated the effects of the social environment on coping with illness, and health outcomes, this new perspective is in contrast to existing behavioral treatments that teach spouses and parents to ignore pain behaviors and reward well behaviors in their loved ones. Dr. Cano will share the research and clinical implications of her work, along with treatment development based on mindfulness and acceptance strategies for couples facing chronic pain.

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