10 October 2006

Negative affect and pain

Negative affect: effects on an evaluative measure of human pain
Rhudy, et al.
Prior work indicates that exposure to fear-inducing shock inhibits finger-withdrawal to radiant heat in humans (hypoalgesia), whereas
anxiety induced by threat of shock enhances reactivity (hyperalgesia; Pain 84 (2000) 65–75). Although finger-withdrawal latencies are
thought to reflect changes in pain sensitivity, additional measures of pain are needed to determine whether pain perception is altered. The
present study examined the impact of negative affect on visual analog scale (VAS) ratings of fixed duration thermal stimuli. One hundred
twenty-seven male and female human subjects were randomly assigned to one of three emotion-induction conditions: (1) negative affect
induced by exposure to three brief shocks; (2) negative affect elicited by the threat of shock without presentation; and (3) neutral affect, with
no intervention. VAS ratings were tested before and after emotion-induction. Results suggest that both negative affect manipulations reduced
pain. Manipulation checks indicated that the emotion-induction treatments induced similar levels of fear but with different arousal levels.
Potential mechanisms for affect induced changes in pain are discussed.
(c) 2003 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Pain 104 (2003) 617-626

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