Anxiety sensitivity and pain: generalisability ability across noxious stimuli

T Thompson, Edmund Keogh, C C French, R Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Anxiety sensitivity, a fear of anxiety-related symptoms, has been associated with a heightened experience of pain, especially within women. The majority of experimental studies investigating this association have relied heavily on the cold pressor technique as a means of pain induction, limiting the generalisability of results. The aim of the current study was to extend previous research by using two types of pain stimuli (cold and heat) to determine whether the link between anxiety sensitivity and pain generalises beyond cold pressor pain. The pain experience of 125 participants in response to these stimuli was assessed using threshold and tolerance readings, as well as subjective pain ratings. Results indicated a positive association between anxiety sensitivity and subjective pain, with this association observed primarily in females. Although analysis also indicated a basic generalisability of results across pain stimuli, anxiety sensitivity effects appeared to be especially pronounced during heat stimulation. These findings suggest that those high in anxiety sensitivity may respond more negatively to specific types of pain. Possible implications along with suggestions for future research are discussed. (c) 2007 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-196
Number of pages10
JournalPain
Volume134
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008

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