Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Daniel W McNeil
The purpose of this study was to examine the construct of emotional pain, as well as its relation to other affective and sensory states. There were 250 undergraduates who signed into an online data collection mechanism and were randomly assigned to five groups in which they wrote a vignette about a personal experience. Participants who indicated they previously had experienced the situation wrote a personal account about an emotionally painful, physically painful, traumatic, depressing, or joyful situation. Additionally, participants completed questionnaires to describe emotional state, pain descriptions, anxiety sensitivity and possible symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder associated with their past experience. The emotional pain group was found to have significantly higher negative affective ratings and affective pain descriptions than the physical pain or joy groups. Participants reporting physical pain conveyed the most intense overall evaluations of the pain experience and sensory pain descriptions. Content analysis revealed that ratings of the correspondence between situations participants were assigned to write about significantly reflected the written content, with some variability in differentiating emotional pain from depression and trauma.
Weinstein, Ben, "Understanding emotional pain: A preliminary investigation" (2009). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 4549.