Fear of pain, not pain catastrophizing, predicts acute pain intensity, but neither factor predicts tolerance or blood pressure reactivity: an experimental investigation in pain-free individuals.
Previous studies of the Fear-Avoidance Model of Exaggerated Pain Perception have commonly included patients with chronic low back pain, making it difficult to determine which psychological factors led to the development of an "exaggerated pain perception". This study investigated the validity of the Fear-Avoidance Model of Exaggerated Pain Perception by considering the influence of fear of pain and pain catastrophizing on acute pain perception, after considering sex and anxiety. Thirty-two males and 34 females completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Fear of Pain Questionnaire, and the Coping Strategies Questionnaire. Subjects underwent a cold pressor procedure and tolerance, pain intensity, and blood pressure reactivity were measured. Sex, anxiety, fear of pain, and pain catastrophizing were simultaneously entered into separate multiple regression models to predict different components of pain perception. Tolerance was not predicted by fear of pain, pain catastrophizing, or anxiety. Pain intensity at threshold and tolerance were significantly predicted by fear of pain, only. Blood pressure reactivity to pain was significantly predicted by anxiety, only. These results suggest that fear of pain may have a stronger influence on acute pain intensity when compared to pain catastrophizing, while neither of the factors predicted tolerance or blood pressure reactivity.
George, SZ; Dannecker, EA; Robinson, ME
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