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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2010 Jul;35(6):944-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.12.003. Epub 2010 Jan 8.

Perceived control moderates the influence of active coping on salivary cortisol response to acute pain among women but not men.

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Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA.


It is generally established that active-coping strategies and greater perceived control over pain are associated with improved pain-related outcomes; however, it remains unclear whether these factors independently or interactively influence adrenocortical function in reaction to a painful stimulus. The present study examined whether active coping predicted magnitude cortisol response to acute pain, whether perceived control over pain moderated this association, and whether effects differed as a function of sex. Our findings suggest that perceived control moderates the active coping-adrenocortical relation among women but not men, such that active coping may augment the release of cortisol in response to a painful stimulus only in the presence of greater perceived control over pain. Taken together, active coping and perceived control may potentiate an adaptive neuroendocrine response to an acute painful stressor.

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