Pain Anxiety and its Association with Pain Congruence Trajectories During the Cold Pressor Task

S M Clark, A Cano, L Goubert, J W S Vlaeyen, L H Wurm, A M Corley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Incongruence of pain severity ratings among people experiencing pain and their observers has been linked to psychological distress. Previous studies have measured pain rating congruence through static self-report, involving a single rating of pain; however, this method does not capture changes in ratings over time. The present study examined the extent to which partners were congruent on multiple ratings of a participants' pain severity during the cold pressor task. Furthermore, 2 components of pain anxiety pain catastrophizing and perceived threat-were examined as predictors of pain congruence. Undergraduate couples in a romantic relationship (N = 127 dyads) participated in this study. Both partners completed measures of pain catastrophizing and perceived threat before randomization to their cold pressor participant or observer roles. Participants and observers rated the participant's pain in writing several times over the course of the task. On average, observers rated participants' pain as less severe than participants' rated their own pain. In addition, congruence between partners increased over time because of observers' ratings becoming more similar to participant's ratings. Finally, pain catastrophizing and perceived threat independently and jointly influenced the degree to which partners similarly rated the participant's pain.

Perspective: This article presents a novel application of the cold pressor task to show that pain rating congruence among romantic partners changes over time. These findings indicate that pain congruence is not static and is subject to pain anxiety in both partners. (C) 2016 by the American Pain Society

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396–404
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of Pain
Volume18
Issue number4
Early online date2 Dec 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Pain
  • congruence
  • anxiety
  • threat
  • catastrophizing
  • romantic relationships
  • couples
  • POSTOPERATIVE PAIN
  • PREOPERATIVE ANXIETY
  • MUSCULOSKELETAL PAIN
  • CHILDRENS PAIN
  • FEAR-AVOIDANCE
  • EMPATHY
  • SATISFACTION
  • EXPERIENCE
  • RESPONSES
  • STATE

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