Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Daniel W McNeil
This study examined differences and similarities in responses to acute nociception in adults with a significant history of emotional pain relative to matched controls with a significant past positive life experience and a sample of chronic pain patients. Using 28 volunteers who responded to advertisements (n = 14, emotional pain group; n = 14, positive life experience group), and 14 chronic pain patients from a prior study, this investigation utilized measures of pain threshold and tolerance during a laboratory finger pressure pain induction experiment. Each participant experienced two levels of pressure pain (i.e., high and low) and two levels of induced fear (i.e., high and low). Mixed between-within subject ANOVAs revealed a significant main effect of weight for pain threshold and tolerance, suggesting the importance of stimulus intensity. Exploratory analyses suggested an interaction between weight and group membership for pain tolerance. Findings indicate that individuals who are self-selected to talk about emotional pain possibly may have a higher pain tolerance for more intense pain stimulation as compared to participants reporting positive life events and chronic pain.
Vargovich, Alison M., "Emotional Pain and Acute Nociception" (2011). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 4807.