Effects of threatening information on interpersonal responses to pain

Jackson, Todd, Huang, Xiting, Chen, Hong, and Phillips, Heath (2009) Effects of threatening information on interpersonal responses to pain. European Journal of Pain, 13 (4). pp. 431-438.

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Emerging evidence indicates that meanings attributed to pain contribute to tolerance and coping among affected individuals. However, links between pain appraisals and coping responses have received little attention within a broader interpersonal context. In this experiment, effects of appraisal on pain tolerance and coping were examined in adult dyads. Eighty-six acquaintance/friend pairs were randomly assigned to the role of Participant in a cold pressor test (CPT) or observer–helper who assisted in coping. Before the task, pairs in the threat condition read about frostbite symptoms and consequences, while those in the reassurance condition read about the safety of the task. In a mixed condition, Participants and Observers read the reassurance and threat passage, respectively. Between-groups analyses revealed threat group participants had lower pain tolerance and reported less cognitive coping than did participants in other appraisal conditions. Threat group observers reported less attention diversion, coping self-statements and ignoring in helping their partner than did reassured observers. Pain language was also most prominent in transactions of threatened dyads. Finally, use of attention diversion by observers contributed to pain tolerance, independent of participant factors (reported pain, appraisal condition, reported coping) and pain language in conversations during immersions. The study highlights how appraisal contributes not only to pain tolerance and coping in the affected individual but also to care-giving efforts of others in their social environment.

Item ID: 7913
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1532-2149
Keywords: pain, appraisal, coping, threat, interpersonal communication, experimental
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2010 23:21
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170112 Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance @ 60%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920199 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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