Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Pain-Related Fear

  • Michael James Coons
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_1159

Synonyms

Definition

It is an affective manifestation of the fight-or-flight system in response to pain perception. The sympathetic nervous system becomes activated by the amygdala, resulting in cognitive, physiological, and behavioral symptoms. Following pain perception subsequent to injury or pain-inducing stimuli, pain is interpreted catastrophically by inferring more harmful or life-threatening outcomes to its underlying cause. For instance, when an individual experiences acute pain after rolling over on their ankle, they might infer that the pain is caused by a broken bone, rather than by a sprain. This negative cognitive bias is predisposed by trait-like factors including anxiety sensitivity (i.e., fear of interoceptive experiences) and negative affectivity (i.e., the propensity toward experiencing negative emotions). This cognitive process prompts hypervigilance toward interoceptive cues (e.g., pain or muscle tension consequent to their...

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References and Readings

  1. Asmundson, G. J. G., Norton, P. J., & Vlaeyen, W. S. (2004). Fear-avoidance models of chronic pain: An overview. In G. J. G. Asmundson, J. W. S. Vlaeyen, & G. Crombez (Eds.), Understanding and treating fear of pain (pp. 3–24). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. de Williams, A. C., & McCracken, L. M. (2004). Cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain: An overview with specific reference to fear avoidance. In G. J. G. Asmundson, J. W. S. Vlaeyen, & G. Crobez (Eds.), Understanding and treating fear of pain (pp. 293–312). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. McNeil, D. W., & Vowles, K. E. (2004). Assessment of fear and anxiety associated with pain: Conceptualization, methods, and measures. In G. J. G. Asmundson, J. W. S. Vlaeyen, & G. Crombez (Eds.), Understanding and treating fear of pain (pp. 189–211). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Preventive MedicineFeinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA