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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1990 Apr;58(4):672-8.

Effectiveness of maximally different cognitive strategies and expectancy in attenuation of reported pain.

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Careleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Ninety-six Ss rated pain during baseline and posttreatment exposures to cold pressor pain. Between trials, Ss in four groups were trained to use one of four cognitive coping strategies involving (a) imaginal reinterpretation, (b) imaginal distraction, (c) nonimaginal reinterpretation, or (d) nonimaginal distraction. Two additional groups were given: (e) an expectation for analgesia but no coping strategy and (f) no treatment. The four coping strategies produced equivalent attenuation of pain ratings and equivalent expectancies for analgesia. Expectancy control Ss expected analgesia, but reported no significant pain reductions. No treatment control Ss neither expected nor achieved any significant pain reductions. Among cognitive strategy groups, the Ss absorption added significantly to the variance in pain reduction above and beyond the effects of expectancy. Theoretical implications are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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