Encyclopedia of Pain

2007 Edition

Anger and Pain

  • Akiko Okifuji
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29805-2_218


Frustration; hostility; Aggression; Acting-Out; Anger-In


Anger is an emotional experience involving cognitive appraisal and action tendency (Smedslund 1992). There have been numerous anecdotal reports since the early days of pain medicine, suggesting that anger may be an associated or resultant emotional experience of pain. There are several terms that are used interchangeably. For the purpose of clarification, in this chapter, the following definitions will be applied:

  • Frustration: Affective state that arises when one’s effort has been blocked, thwarted

  • Anger: Strong feeling of displeasure associated with cognitive appraisal that injustice has occurred and action tendency to remedy the perceived injustice

  • Hostility: Unfriendly attitudinal disposition with tendency to become angry

  • Aggression: Behavioral actualization of the action tendency associated with anger


Anger is a common emotional experience associated with pain, particularly chronic pain....

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.
    Berkowitz L, Thome P (1987) Pain, Expectation, Negative Affect, and Angry Aggression. Motivation Emo 11:183–193Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bruehl S, Burns JW et al. (2002) Anger and Pain Sensitivity in Chronic Low Back Pain Patients and Pain-Free Controls: The Role of Endogenous Opioids. Pain 99:223–233Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bruehl S, Chung OY et al. (2003) The Association between Anger Expression and Chronic Pain Intensity: Evidence for Partial Mediation by Endogenous Opioid Dysfunction. Pain 106:317–324Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Burns J, Higdon L et al. (1999) Relationships among Patient Hostility, Anger Expression, Depression and the Working Alliance in a Work Hardening Program. Annals Behav Med 21:77–82Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Burns JW (1997) Anger Management Style and Hostility: Predicting Symptom-Specific Physiological Reactivity among Chronic Low Back Pain Patients. J Behav Med 20:505–522Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Burns JW, Johnson BJ et al. (1998) Anger Management Style and the Prediction of Treatment Outcome among Male and Female Chronic Pain Patients. Behav Res Ther 36:1051-1062Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Fernandez E (2002) Anxiety, Depression, and Anger in Pain. Toronto, University of Toront PressGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fernandez E, Turk DC (1995) The Scope and Significance of Anger in the Experience of Chronic Pain. Pain 61:165–175Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Flor H, Turk DC (1989) Psychophysiology of Chronic Pain: Do Chronic Pain Patients Exhibit Symptom-Specific Psychophysiological Responses? Psychol Bull 105:215–259Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gaskin ME, Greene AF et al. (1992) Negative Affect and the Experience of Chronic Pain. J Psychosom Res 36(8):707–713Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Janssen SA, Spinhoven P et al. (2001) Experimentally Induced Anger, Cardiovascular Reactivity, and Pain Sensitivity. J Psychosom Res 51:479–485Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kerns RD, Rosenberg R et al. (1994) Anger Expression and Chronic Pain. J Behav Med 17:57–67Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Okifuji AD, Turk DC et al. (1999) Anger in Chronic Pain: Investigations of Anger Targets and Intensity. J Psychosom Res 47:1–12Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Smedslund J (1992) How Shall the Concept of Anger be Defined? Theory Psychol 3:5–34Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wade JB, Price DD et al. (1990) An Emotional Component Analysis of Chronic Pain. Pain 40:303–310Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akiko Okifuji
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyPsychology and Clinical PharmacyUniversity of UtahUT, USA