Comparative self-evaluation and depressive affect among chronic pain patients: An examination of selective evaluation theory

Mark P. Jensen, Paul Karoly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Selective evaluation theory suggests that an individual suffering from a medical condition might employ self-enhancing comparative evaluations (comparing oneself or one's condition to others in such a way as to appear relatively advantaged) as one means of combating the psychological effects of perceived victimization. Research which has examined the relation between self-evaluations and psychological functioning suggests that the association is complex, and that various moderating factors (such as illness severity, perceived control over symptoms, and illness duration) may help explain discrepant findings. To help clarify the nature of these relationships, and to broaden the applicability of selective evaluation theory, chronic pain patients were asked to rate the frequency with which they use various comparative self-appraisals as a means of coping with their condition, and to rate their perceptions of pain intensity and control over pain. In support of selective evaluation theory, more frequent use of self-evaluative strategies was associated with lower levels of depression. However, this relationship was strongest for those patients presenting with a relatively short duration of pain (less than 5 years), and nonexistent among those patients who had suffered for a longer period of time (greater than 11.7 years).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-308
Number of pages12
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 1992

Keywords

  • Self-evaluation
  • chronic pain
  • coping
  • depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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