Negative Social Comparisons Could Contribute to Fibromyalgia’s Severity, Study Suggests

Negative Social Comparisons Could Contribute to Fibromyalgia’s Severity, Study Suggests
Negative social comparisons, in which patients negatively compare themselves to others and express negative emotions, could contribute to the severity of fibromyalgia symptoms, a Canadian study suggests. The findings support the theory that both biological and psychosocial factors trigger excessive pain signaling in fibromyalgia, and suggest that a combination of biological and psychosocial interventions may be needed to treat the condition, researchers argued. The study was published in the journal Plos One in an article titled, “Personal relative deprivation associated with functional disorders via stress: An examination of fibromyalgia and gastrointestinal symptoms.” Personal relative deprivation is a scientific term describing when people compare themselves to others in a negative way, resulting in negative emotions. Research shows that this has a negative impact on both physical and mental health. A research team at the University of Regina, in Canada, explored whether these processes could contribute to the severity of fibromyalgia symptoms. The study also included patients with gastrointestinal symptoms. Data showed that scores on a deprivation assessment could predict scores on a fibromyalgia impact questionnaire beyond what could be explained using demographic measures, including age, education, depression, and anxiety. Using a statistical analysis that indicates the order of cause and effect, the team showed that the impact of negative social comparison on fibromyalgia was, at least in part, mediated by stress
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