Anger management style moderates effects of attention strategy during acute pain induction on physiological responses to subsequent mental stress and recovery: a comparison of chronic pain patients and healthy nonpatients.

Burns JW, Quartana PJ, Bruehl S
Psychosom Med. 2009 71 (4): 454-62

PMID: 19251875 · PMCID: PMC4180112 · DOI:10.1097/PSY.0b013e318199d97f

OBJECTIVES - To examine whether high trait anger-out chronic low back (CLBP) patients would show exceptionally large symptom-specific lower paraspinal (LP) responses, compared with healthy nonpatients, during pain induction, a subsequent mental stressor, and recovery when they were urged to suppress awareness of pain and suffering.

METHODS - CLBP patients (n = 93) and nonpatients (n = 105) were assigned randomly to one of four attention strategy conditions for use during pain induction: sensory-focus, distraction, suppression, or control. All participants underwent a cold pressor, and then performed mental arithmetic. They completed the anger-out (AOS) and anger-in (AIS) subscales of the Anger Expression Inventory.

RESULTS - General Linear Model procedures were used to test Attention Strategy Condition x Patient/Nonpatient Status x AOS (or AIS) x Period interactions for physiological indices. Significant interactions were found such that: a) high trait anger-out patients in the Suppression condition seemed to show the greatest LP reactivity during the mental arithmetic followed by the slowest recovery compared with other conditions; b) high trait anger-out patients and nonpatients in the Suppression condition seemed to show the slowest systolic blood pressure recoveries compared with other conditions.

CONCLUSIONS - Results extend previous work by suggesting that an anger-out style moderates effects of how attention is allocated during pain on responses to and recovery from a subsequent mental stressor. Results provide further evidence that trait anger-out and trait anger-in among CLBP patients are associated with increased LP muscle tension during and after pain and mental stress.

MeSH Terms (19)

Acute Disease Adaptation, Psychological Adult Anger Attention Chronic Disease Cold Temperature Female Hemodynamics Humans Inhibition, Psychological Low Back Pain Male Mathematics Middle Aged Muscle Contraction Pain Personality Inventory Stress, Psychological

Connections (1)

This publication is referenced by other Labnodes entities: