, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 253–261

Situational factors contributing to the placebo effect

  • Steven L. Gryll
  • Martin Katahn

DOI: 10.1007/BF00426747

Cite this article as:
Gryll, S.L. & Katahn, M. Psychopharmacology (1978) 57: 253. doi:10.1007/BF00426747


The influence of four variables (status of communicator of drug effects, attitude of dentist, attitude of dental technician, and message of drug effects) on the obtainment of placebo effects in an oral surgery clinic was investigated. Dependent variables were (1) rating of pain experienced from mandibular-block injection, (2) pre-post placebo state anxiety, and (3) pre-postplacebo fear of injection. Enthusiastic messages of drug effects produced statistically and clinically significant reductions in postplacebo fear of injection and state anxiety and markedly lower ratings of pain experienced during injection of local anesthetic. Although there was a strong tendency for positive placebo effects to occur when the dental staff was perceived as friendly and supportive, only the attitude factors obtained statistical significance. The status of the communicator accounted for very small portions of the variance.

Key words

PlaceboSituational factorsPainAnxiety

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven L. Gryll
    • 1
  • Martin Katahn
    • 2
  1. 1.Waterbury HospitalUSA
  2. 2.Vanderbilt UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Merriman Hall, Team IIWaterbury Hospital Health CenterWaterburyUSA