Empirical evidence of a chronic pain schema using a recall task
Hewitt, Jenny Helen
Master of Arts
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Study group from the Thunder Bay region of Northwestern OntarioThe purpose of the proposed investigation was to provide empirical evidence of a pain schema. The effect of various durations of pain experienced on pain schema development was explored. Fifty-one pain patients were recruited from the university community, the Thunder Bay community, and area hospitals. Pain patients were divided into three groups based on pain duration. In addition, sixteen healthy control subjects were recruited from the Thunder Bay community. Each participant completed a free recall task. We hypothesized that patients who had suffered chronic pain syndromes the longest would demonstrate a greater recall bias toward pain-related stimuli. Results failed to support the hypothesis. There were no differences found across pain groups in the number or percentage of pain words recalled. However, pain patients did demonstrate more cognitive bias towards pain-related stimuli overall compared to control participants. Results clearly provide support for the existence of a pain-related self-schema in pain patients. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed in relation to the prevention, assessment, and management of chronic pain.