Hurt feelings and four letter words: the effects of verbal swearing on social pain

Lombardo, Laura (2012). Hurt feelings and four letter words: the effects of verbal swearing on social pain Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Lombardo, Laura
Thesis Title Hurt feelings and four letter words: the effects of verbal swearing on social pain
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-10-09
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Michael Philipp
Total pages 79
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Swearing can act as an adaptive response to physical pain. Given the considerable overlap between social and physical pain, it was expected that swearing would be similarly effective in reducing social pain. Participants were 70 University of Queensland students (48.6% female) who were randomly assigned to a social pain (inclusion-primed or exclusion-primed) and swearing condition (swear or non-swear). In part one of the experiment, they were asked to either write about an experience of exclusion or inclusion to manipulate social pain. Participants generated 10 different words of which one was selected, depending on their swearing condition, to repeat aloud whilst holding their hand in room-temperature water for two minutes. Measures of perceived social pain, social pain catastrophising, social needs satisfaction and mood were recorded. Part two of the experiment involved participants holding their hand in ice-cold water until physical pain was felt. During this task, a nonsense word was repeated aloud to prevent internal swearing and perceived physical pain was then rated. No main effects of swearing or social pain were found for perceived physical pain or physical pain sensitivity; however, a significant interaction suggested swearing moderated the perceived physical pain relationship, as well as the perceived social pain relationship. A similar pattern was found for sensitivity such that, swearing moderated the relationship between social pain and cold pressor latencies. Social pain was catastrophised more by exclusion-primed participants; however, swearing did not affect the relationship. Overall, swearing moderated measures of physical pain (sensitivity and perceptions) and perceived social pain after recalling exclusion. Results further support pain-overlap theory and suggest both pains may be functionally analogous.
Keyword Verbal swearing
Social pain

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Created: Wed, 06 Mar 2013, 14:39:38 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology