Using the Day Reconstruction Method to Quantify Time Spent Suffering among Older Adults with Chronic Pain
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The Day Reconstruction Method (DRM) is a structured diary designed to measure time use in a manner that is more valid than traditional written summary measures, but less burdensome than real-time electronic diary methods. The lower respondent burden and administration costs might make it feasible to utilize this method in large national surveys. Past studies using the DRM have generally focused on subjective mood states during different types of activities. In this study, we extended the DRM to also measure suffering from negative symptoms, such as pain and fatigue, in 122 older adults, most of whom suffer from chronic pain. Results indicated that the method was well tolerated in this population, with over 98% of the sample providing interpretable responses. Chronic pain respondents reported spending a considerable proportion of their day suffering from pain, fatigue, and depression; a much higher proportion than reported by healthy controls (p’s < .01). Time spent suffering was associated with lower income, negative mood, and lower life satisfaction and quality of life.
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