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Painfully reassuring?: The effects of validation on emotions and adherence in a pain test
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP))ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5359-0452
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (Center for Health and Medical Psychology (CHAMP))ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9429-9012
Department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology, Gent University, Gent, Belgium.
Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno NV, USA.
2012 (English)In: European Journal of Pain, ISSN 1090-3801, E-ISSN 1532-2149, Vol. 16, no 4, p. 592-599Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Communicating reassurance to patients with musculoskeletal pain complaints, but no red flags, presents a dilemma of dampening worry while refraining from reinforcing undue pain behaviors. Previous research shows that reassurance does not decrease negative affect and may be perceived as not taking the symptoms seriously. Validation offers an alternative where the patient's experiences and feelings are acknowledged and has demonstrated, for other problems, a decrease in arousal which may set the stage for behavioral change. The purpose of this study was to investigate experimentally whether validation, as compared to invalidation, impacts on emotions and adherence during repeated pain tests.

To this end, 50 participants were randomized to either a validation or invalidation condition. Each participant was told they would undergo four pain trials involving holding a bucket at arm's length to tolerance. During the inter-trial interval, the experimenter provided validating or invalidating responses according to the randomization. As a proxy measure of adherence subjects were asked to engage in an additional pain test.

Results indicated that validation relative to invalidation resulted in significantly more positive affect and significantly less worry. Both groups had reductions in negative affect over the trials, but there were no difference between the groups on negative affect or pain. However, adherence was more than twice as high in the validation group as compared to invalidation.

These results show that a relatively simple validation procedure had significant and positive effects on emotion and increased adherence. Further research should extend these findings and explore their clinical application.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Vol. 16, no 4, p. 592-599
National Category
Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Neurology
Research subject
Anaesthesiology; Neurology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-24849DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2011.07.011ISI: 000305947000014PubMedID: 22396087Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84863805685OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-24849DiVA, id: diva2:546448
Available from: 2012-08-23 Created: 2012-08-23 Last updated: 2018-05-09Bibliographically approved

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Linton, Steven J.Boersma, Katja

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