Affect balance style, experimental pain sensitivity, and pain-related responses

The Clinical Journal of Pain, 05/16/2012

Findings from the study suggest that among healthy adults, trait affect patterns are associated with ischemic experimental pain sensitivity and other pain–related measures.


  • Participants (n=372) completed quantitative sensory testing, pain–related questionnaires, and the Positive and Negative Affect Scale.
  • ABS groups were categorized as Healthy (high PA, low NA), Low (low PA, low NA), Depressive (low PA, high NA), and Reactive (high PA, high NA).
  • Z–scores were computed for 3 experimental pain measures: ischemic, pressure, and heat.


  • ABS groups significantly differed on ischemic pain sensitivity and pain–related measures.
  • Specifically, the Healthy group demonstrated lower ischemic pain sensitivity compared with the Reactive group (P=0.02); the Depressive and Reactive groups endorsed higher somatic symptoms compared with the Healthy group (P<0.02); the Low and Depressive groups reported more physical stimuli sensitivity than the Healthy group (P<0.02); and the Reactive group indicated more passive coping strategies then the Low and Healthy groups (P=0.001).

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