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Behav Res Ther. 2003 Oct;41(10):1243-9.

Does 'mental kinesiophobia' exist?

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Maastricht University; Department of Medical Clinical and Experimental Psychology, PO Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, Netherlands.


In this study the relevance of the concept of mental kinesiophobia (respectively cogniphobia or fear of mental exertion) for clients with chronic stress problems was explored. It was hypothesized that cognitive, chronic stress complaints, such as concentration problems or decreased problem solving abilities, could be catastrophized as signs of heightened personal vulnerability, with a chance of becoming permanent. As a consequence, mental exertion is avoided. This line of reasoning comes from the existing concept of kinesiophobia. This concept describes the avoidance behavior in chronic benign pain patients and refers to their fear of inflicting irreversible bodily damage due to physical exertion.An illustrative case of cogniphobia is presented. In an explorative pilot-study it was demonstrated that chronically stressed clients scored significantly higher on an experimental questionnaire measuring avoidance tendencies for mental exertion, compared with actively working employees. Consequences for treatment and suggestions for further study are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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