Conceptualising Secondary Pain Affect: The More Personal and Elaborate Feelings

  • Drew CarterEmail author


I aim to advance the conception of what pain scientist Price (2000) terms secondary pain affect, a dimension of pain thought to comprise “emotional feelings directed toward long-term implications.” I analyse some of the many feelings involved in an experience of pain and aim to demonstrate three things. First, I aim to demonstrate how Peter MS Hacker’s philosophical distinctions between different types of feeling help to differentiate the different types of feeling that conceivably comprise pain and, in particular, secondary pain affect. Pain researchers need something like Hacker’s sensible taxonomy or way of thinking about different types of feeling so they can ask meaningful questions and research their phenomena of interest rather than phenomena that may be closely related, but actually intrinsically different. Second, I aim to demonstrate how pain catastrophising can conceivably relate to secondary pain affect and how secondary pain affect need not solely comprise negative feelings. Finally, I aim to demonstrate how pain can contain moral dimensions by drawing on our memories, long-standing hopes and fears, loves, and, more broadly, what things mean to us. I conclude with some implications for redressing pain in clinical practice by attempting to counter pain catastrophising and to decrease negative secondary pain affect.


Emotional Exhaustion Pain Sensation Pain Catastrophising Pain Catastrophising Scale Oxford English Dictionary 
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I thank Paul Sendziuk and Simon van Rysewyk for encouragement and advice, the Brocher Foundation for material and moral support, Andrew McGee for philosophical discussion, and Catherine for ongoing support. Work underpinning this chapter was presented in 2012 at the International Association for the Study of Pain’s 14th World Congress on Pain.

Funding Information

Drew Carter is supported by the “Health Care in the Round” Capacity Building Grant in Population Health, awarded by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (Grant ID 565501). Work underpinning this chapter was supported by the Brocher Foundation (


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public HealthUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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