Implicit associations between pain and self-schema in patients with chronic pain

Dimitri M. L. Van Ryckeghem*, Jan De Houwer, Bram Van Bockstaele, Stefaan Van Damme, Maarten De Schryver, Geert Crombez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Chronic pain often interferes with daily functioning, and may become a threat to an individual's sense of self. Despite the development of a recent theoretical account focussing upon the relationship between the presence of chronic pain and a person's self, research investigating this idea is limited. In the present study we aimed to (1) compare the strength of association between self-and pain schema in patients with chronic pain and healthy control subjects and (2) research whether the strength of association between self-and pain-schema is related to particular pain-related outcomes and individual differences of patients with chronic pain. Seventy-three patients with chronic pain (M-age = 49.95; SD = 9.76) and 53 healthy volunteers (M-age = 48.53; SD = 10.37) performed an Implicit Association Test (IAT) to assess the strength of association between pain- and self-schema. Patients with chronic pain also filled out self-report measures of pain severity, pain suffering, disability, depression, anxiety, acceptance, and helplessness. Results indicated that the pain- and self-schema were more strongly associated in patients with chronic pain than in healthy control subjects. Second, results indicated that, in patients with chronic pain, a stronger association between self- and pain-schema, as measured with the IAT, is related to a heightened level of pain severity, pain suffering, anxiety, and helplessness. Current findings give first support for the use of an IAT to investigate the strength of association between self- and pain-schema in patients with chronic pain and suggest that pain therapies may incorporate techniques that intervene on the level of self-pain enmeshment. (C) 2013 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2700-2706
Number of pages7
JournalPain
Volume154
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chronic pain
  • Self
  • Implicit Association Test
  • SENTENCE COMPLETION TASK
  • PSYCHOMETRIC PROPERTIES
  • DISABILITY INDEX
  • POSSIBLE SELVES
  • DEPRESSION
  • ANXIETY
  • QUESTIONNAIRE
  • ENMESHMENT
  • INVENTORY
  • COGNITION

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