A new study that was published in the journal Psychological Science has said that showing a feeling of empathy to your partner or spouse who is suffering from chronic pain or with osteoarthritis may improve his or her physical functioning over the time. It might also help in healing them as well to some extent. The patients whose partners show empathy are more likely to get healed more quickly than the patients whose spouses or partners act frustrated and irritated over their illness. Those patients show diminished functioning over time.
The results showed that the patients with caring and empathetic spouses who responded to their expressions of pain by showing emotional support, affection on a daily basis showed improved physical function six and eighteen months as compared to the patients with less empathetic partners. Further, they were also better able to stand from a chair unassisted, maintained better balance and could walk more quickly.
"We found that osteoarthritis patients whose spouses were more emphatically responsive in daily interactions fared better in terms of their physical function than patients whose spouses were less responsive," said lead author Stephanie J. Wilson from the Ohio state in the US.
For the study, the team included a total of 152 osteoarthritis patients -- all of whom were over 50 years old and married or living with their partner or spouses.
"Other research suggests that people who perform better on these tasks also are more likely to remain independent and to live longer. Thus, our findings have direct clinical implications for chronic pain patients" Wilson explained.