Emotion induction moderates effects of anger management style on acute pain sensitivity.

Burns JW, Kubilus A, Bruehl S
Pain. 2003 106 (1-2): 109-18

PMID: 14581117 · DOI:10.1016/s0304-3959(03)00298-7

Anger management style (AMS) is related to both acute and chronic pain intensity. Recent work suggests that an anger expressive AMS in particular may influence acute pain, and that this effect may be most pronounced during anger provocation. The present study examined whether AMS was related to subsequent pain sensitivity without regard to prior emotion induction, only when a strong negative emotion was evoked, or only when anger was provoked. Sixty-four healthy normals partook in semi-structured interviews in which they recalled and verbally described an event in which either anger, sadness, or joy was elicited. They then underwent a cold pressor pain task. Results of hierarchical multiple regressions showed that an anger expressive AMS was related positively to pain threshold only for participants in the anger-recall condition, and that this effect was largely accounted for by their low SBP reactivity during emotion induction. An anger suppressive AMS was related positively to increases in self-reported pain severity, irrespective of emotion-induction condition, and this effect was not accounted for by reactivity in any cardiovascular index. Results extend those of previous studies by illuminating the potential importance of behavioral anger expression for individuals prone to express anger in modulating their reactivity and pain sensitivity. Findings suggest that the detrimental effects of an anger expressive style on pain sensitivity may be ameliorated under conditions in which behavioral anger expression occurs. Results are discussed in terms of recent work suggesting that an expressive AMS is associated with endogenous opioid dysfunction in the absence of behavioral anger expression.

MeSH Terms (11)

Acute Disease Adult Anger Blood Pressure Cold Temperature Female Happiness Humans Male Pain Pain Threshold

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