THE DIFFERENTIAL EFFECTIVENESS OF SOMATIZATION AND IMAGINARY TRANSFORMATION AS PAIN CONTROL TECHNIQUES FOR REPRESSORS, SENSITIZERS, AND LOW ANXIOUS SUBJECTS

MARY DORES BRIDGET BYRNE, Fordham University

Abstract

The present study examined the effectiveness of specific cognitive pain control strategies for particular personality styles for whom they were theoretically most appropriate. The Marlowe-Crowne SD Scale was used in conjunction with the Revised R-S Scale and the A-Trait scale of the STAI in order to screen 60 undergraduate subjects, 20 repressors, 20 sensitizers, and 20 low anxious individuals. All subjects underwent two 3-minute cold pressor immersions, a baseline and an experimental trial.^ As hypothesized, repressors assigned an imagery strategy reported significantly greater pain reduction on the experimental trial than repressors given a somatization strategy. Neither imagery sensitizers nor somatization sensitizers reported pain reduction on the experimental trial. Sensitizers had significantly higher scores than either repressors or low anxious subjects on the A-State scale of the STAI prior to the baseline trial. Low anxious subjects reported greater anxiety than repressors before the baseline trial, with the differences between the groups approaching significance. The cognitive strategies did not affect the anxiety levels reported by the personality groups following the experimental trial.^ It was hypothesized that the greater the extent to which subjects used the cognitive strategy targeted for their personality style the less pain they would report. The data did not confirm this expectation. For somatization sensitizers the relationship between strategy use and pain reports was significant in the direction opposite to that which had been predicted. The more sensitizers used the somatization strategy the higher their pain ratings. For imagery repressors the relationship between strategy use and pain scores approached significance in a direction opposite to the predicted one, so that greater strategy use was associated with higher pain ratings. Low anxious subjects displayed a borderline significant trend for greater use of either strategy to be associated with higher pain scores.^ The results provided further evidence that repressors and sensitizers differ in pain responsivity. Sensitizers had significantly higher baseline pain ratings than repressors. The results also suggest that repressors and low anxious subjects differ in pain responsivity, since low anxious subjects had significantly higher pain scores than repressors for three of the six baseline rating periods. ^

Subject Area

Experimental psychology

Recommended Citation

BYRNE, MARY DORES BRIDGET, "THE DIFFERENTIAL EFFECTIVENESS OF SOMATIZATION AND IMAGINARY TRANSFORMATION AS PAIN CONTROL TECHNIQUES FOR REPRESSORS, SENSITIZERS, AND LOW ANXIOUS SUBJECTS" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8323515.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8323515

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