The Role of Anxiety Sensitivity, Fear of Pain and Experiential Avoidance in Experimental Pain


The aim of this study was to investigate whether distraction is less effective when pain is perceived as threatening. Forty-one female undergraduate participants were assigned to distraction and not distraction conditions that consisted in performing a distraction task and the threat value of the pain stimuli was manipulated using instructions. AS, EA an FP were considered as covariates. Results indicated that distraction manipulation had a main effect on less pain intensity, more tolerance and less catastrophic thoughts. Interestingly, the covariate AS had a significant effect over tolerance and EA had an effect on distress and anxiety related to pain. These results suggest that AS and EA are distinct processes and that each could play a different role in the response to pain. Anxiety sensitivity involves behavioural avoidance, whereas EA is a rejection of the internal experience that contributes to an increase in emotional distress.

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Gutiérrez, A. , Zarazaga, M. & Damme, S. (2011). The Role of Anxiety Sensitivity, Fear of Pain and Experiential Avoidance in Experimental Pain. Psychology, 2, 817-830. doi: 10.4236/psych.2011.28125.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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