The Role of Disease Conviction: Exploring Its Effects on Chest Pain and Anxiety-Related Models of Non-cardiac Chest Pain

  • Caleb M. Pardue
  • Kamila S. White
  • Ernest V. Gervino


The aim of this study was to investigate the role of disease conviction in the chest pain and life interference of patients with non-cardiac chest pain (NCCP), after controlling for anxiety sensitivity and body vigilance. While all three psychological constructs are theoretically implicated and empirically associated with the experience of NCCP, no research has examined the influence of disease conviction in the context of other relevant constructs. The sample included 229 participants with NCCP who were recruited after a medical evaluation failed to elicit an organic explanation for their chest pain. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that while anxiety sensitivity significantly predicted chest pain severity and interference, only body vigilance contributed significant additional variance to chest pain severity, and only disease conviction contributed significant additional variance to chest pain interference. While anxiety sensitivity, body vigilance, and disease conviction all appear to affect those with NCCP, it seems that their impact is manifest in different domains (i.e., pain perception vs. psychosocial impairment).


Non-cardiac chest pain Health anxiety Anxiety sensitivity Disease conviction 



The research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (MH63185) and the University of Missouri-Saint Louis (University Research Award).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Caleb M. Pardue, Kamila S. White, and Ernest V. Gervino declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caleb M. Pardue
    • 1
  • Kamila S. White
    • 1
  • Ernest V. Gervino
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of Missouri–St LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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