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Effects of different cognitive strategies on chronic pain experience

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The present research sought to examine the importance of cognitive factors in the experience and treatment of chronic pain. An attempt was made to explore possible mediational influences by testing the effectiveness of several cognitive strategies. Experimental conditions were manipulated to examine the influence of three types of cognitive strategies: (1) reinterpreting the pain stimuli, (2) diverting one's attention from it, and (3) concentrating on the sensation itself. Dependent measures such as subjective indices of pain, behavioral observations, and an unobtrusive measure of pain behavior were obtained in an attempt to explore the experience of pain. Results demonstrated that, within a physical rehabilitation hospital setting, patients with a history of persistent pain showed a significant change in their ratings of the quality and intensity of this experience, and in their behavior, through the use of reinterpretive cognitive instructions.

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Rybstein-Blinchik, E. Effects of different cognitive strategies on chronic pain experience. J Behav Med 2, 93–101 (1979).

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