Cognitive strategies, expectancy, and coping style in the control of pain

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Measures of tolerance, self-reported pain threshold, and overall discomfort of cold-pressor pain were obtained from 114 male undergraduates in a pretest-training-posttest experiment. Training consisted of brief practice in 1 of 4 cognitive strategies: rational thinking, compatible imagery, incompatible imagery, and task-irrelevant cognition. Analyses of covariance indicated that (a) cognitive-imaginal strategies facilitated endurance of pain and raised self-reported threshold, (b) rational thinking and compatible imagery were generally the most effective treatments, (c) expectancy alone was not a significant pain-attenuating factor, (d) treatments did not affect discomfort ratings, and (e) individual differences in imaginal ability and coping style did not correlate with changes in any of the dependent measures. (3 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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