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Association and dissociation : individual differences

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Item Summary

Title:Association and dissociation : individual differences
Authors:McCann, Sean Cairbre
Keywords:Pain -- Psychological aspects
Date Issued:1990
Abstract:This study attempts to integrate two independent research literatures which lie within the broad area of pain and cognitive aspects of pain: 1) research in pain and clinical pain treatment, and; 2) research in athletes' pain coping strategies. The study focused upon a specific question which cuts across both areas: When exposed to painful stimuli, do individuals tend to focus upon their pain (Association), or do they tend to distract themselves from the pain (Dissociation)? In addition to this central question, the study investigated differences between athletes and non-athletes on this dimension of association and dissociation, and it also investigated the relationship between three different pain experiences: minor pain experiences, worst pain experiences, and exercise induced pain, and explored levels of association and dissociation for each. Prior to discussing the proposed study, the paper reviews relevant literature from two traditionally independent research areas. The review begins by considering problematical core questions in pain research and then takes an historical look at alternative approaches to conceptualizing pain. The prominent modern conceptualizations of pain are then discussed, with a specific focus upon recent behavioral and cognitive-behavioral models of pain and pain treatment. The efficacy of these psychological pain models in treating pain in clinical settings is briefly reviewed. The last section of the review focuses upon the question of association and dissociation, with a review of relevant literature III two broad areas: work with athletes and studies performed in laboratory settings. This literature will then be used as a foundation for discussing the importance of both learning and individual differences in any pain model. As an introduction to the proposed study, a paradigmatic behavioral model of pain is introduced as a conceptual aid for integrating the separate literatures reviewed. The review suggests that the work with athletes may prove itself as a useful alternative to traditional laboratory pain research. The current study investigates and compares the psychological and behavioral approaches to pain of athletes and non-athletes, with a focus both upon individual differences and upon universal responses to pain. In addition, the commonalties between historical pain experiences and current exercise-induced pain, are explored. The primary findings of the study revealed: 1) that the pattern of increased associative pain strategies in situations of increased pain was found in subjects' self-report pain histories; 2) that these historical assessments of pain and responses to pain are correlated with current assessments of and responses to a laboratory based "sport" situation on a bicycle ergometer ride; 3) that the sample of non-elite athletes did not use significantly more associative pain strategies during the bicycle ergometer ride than non-athletes, and; 4) that, across all subjects in this non-elite athlete and non-athlete sample, self-reported levels of association for the bicycle ergometer task did not increase in response to increased effort and pain. The results are compared with earlier studies using elite athlete populations and laboratory pain studies, and the findings are discussed in terms of a Paradigmatic-Behavioral model of pain proposed as one way to facilitate the integration of an otherwise disparate pain literature. The limits of the current study are discussed, and suggestions for future research to address these limitations are presented.
Description:Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1990.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 145-158)
viii, 158 leaves, bound 29 cm
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Psychology

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