Associative versus Dissociative Coping and the Experience of Pain in Athletes and the General Healthy Population

Carlton, Brielle (2010). Associative versus Dissociative Coping and the Experience of Pain in Athletes and the General Healthy Population Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Carlton, Brielle
Thesis Title Associative versus Dissociative Coping and the Experience of Pain in Athletes and the General Healthy Population
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Hanrahan, Stephanie J.
Total pages 63
Abstract/Summary The purpose of this study was to determine the differential effectiveness of associative and dissociative coping strategies as they apply to the experience of experimentally induced pain through means of the cold pressor test. The efficacy of these strategies were compared across two groups; Athletes who train a minimum of 5 hours per week and compete (N = 32) and Non-athletes, the general healthy population (N = 49). Participants completed subjective pain ratings of the Short Form-McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ; Melzack, 1987) and measures of pain threshold and pain tolerance were taken and assessed on two occasions; at pre-test and with a coping manipulation at time 2. It was hypothesised that pain threshold and tolerance would be influenced by prior experience with pain and therefore differ across the two subject groups (Hypothesis 1). That is, athletes would have higher threshold and tolerance scores, and lower subjective pain ratings than non-athletes. In addition, according to the literature, it was hypothesised that associative coping would be superior to dissociative coping across measures of pain threshold, tolerance and subjective pain ratings, therefore increasing participant's ability to deal with the pain stimulus (Hypothesis 2). The results of this study confirmed Hypothesis 1 that athletes had higher threshold and tolerance scores than non-athletes (p < .05). However the subjective pain ratings did not differ between groups. Interestingly when examining Hypothesis 2, contrary to this study's predictions; dissociative coping was found to be superior to associative coping across measures of threshold, tolerance, and the overall intensity of pain as indicated on the visual analogue scale (Melzack, 1987) (p < .05). There were no significant differences in the sensory, affective or overall pain ratings as per the SF-MPQ between conditions. These findings are discussed in terms of theoretical underpinnings, guidelines for future research, and implications for the use of these coping strategies in pain management amongst athletes and the general healthy population.

 
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Created: Tue, 05 Apr 2011, 11:53:59 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology