Chronic Pain Communication and Social Support in Online and Mobile Interactions

Title: Chronic Pain Communication and Social Support in Online and Mobile Interactions

Investigator: Natalie Bazarova, PhD, Assistant Professor of Communication, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University

Overview: This pilot study seeks to understand how older adults with chronic pain utilize different technologies to communicate about pain and the effects such communication has on their well-being and psychological adjustment. The study will involve designing a smartphone application for moment-to-moment assessments via mobile technology to examine: 1)types of communication channels used by older adults with chronic pain for pain self-disclosure, 2)types of interpersonal resources and support networks assessed through these channels, 3)content types (e.g., pain-related experiences and emotions) shared with different partners via different communication channels, 4)perceived social support and partner responsiveness as a function of communication channel and partner, and 5)effects of pain-related discourse on psychological adjustment and well-being. By understanding the capacity of information and communication technology (ICT) for pain-related communication and its effects on well-being of people with chronic pain, this study will provide a foundation for future research investigating older adults’ continuing ICT usage, specifically as it relates to social interaction and support in their lives.