Does the peak-end phenomenon observed in laboratory pain studies apply to real-world pain in rheumatoid arthritics?
Laboratory studies and investigations of patients undergoing painful procedures have compared recalled pain to an average of multiple momentary reports taken throughout the painful experience. This work has shown that recalled ratings of pain are more closely associated with a combination of peak pain and pain proximal to the recall ratings than an average of all momentary reports. However, these studies have examined recalled pain over relatively short periods, usually under 1 hour. In this study of 32 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, momentary pain ratings taken over a 7-day period were compared with pain recalled on the eighth day. Analyses confirmed that a combination of peak and recent pain was a better predictor of recalled patient pain than was a simple average of all momentary pain reports. These results extend our understanding of how individuals remember pain and suggest alternative methods for assessing recalled pain.
Stone, AA; Broderick, JE; Kaell, AT; DelesPaul, PAEG; Porter, LE
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