Psychology Plays Role in the Intensity of Pain: Study Finds Correlation with Anxiety

By Young, Shannon | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 18, 1996 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Psychology Plays Role in the Intensity of Pain: Study Finds Correlation with Anxiety


Young, Shannon, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Having a positive attitude can help whisk away your aches and pains, says a report released today at the eighth annual World Congress on Pain in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have formulated a new theory of pain known as the psychological behaviorism theory of pain. According to their findings, positive thinking may alleviate some people's pain, while negative thinking may actually exacerbate the pain.

The Hopkins team isn't suggesting that pain is a figment of the imagination, but that individuals can decrease their pain through positive thinking.

"Our theory reconceptualizes pain as an emotional response," said Dr. Peter Staats, leader of the research team and director of pain medicine at Johns Hopkins. "These findings support our belief that most pain involves both a biological cause and an emotional response to it, and that treatment should address both these factors."

In the study, 72 college students submerged their hands in ice water until they could no longer tolerate the pain. Before the experiment, the students took a written test to determine their level of pain anxiety. The study found that students with a high anxiety for pain pulled their hands out of the ice water much earlier than those who were less worried about pain.

When the students concentrated on positive messages, their threshold for pain nearly doubled. Similarly, the tolerance for pain decreased significantly for those who concentrated on negative messages.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Psychology Plays Role in the Intensity of Pain: Study Finds Correlation with Anxiety
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?