The positive consequences of pain: a biopsychosocial approach

Bastian, Brock, Jetten, Jolanda, Hornsey, Matthew J. and Leknes, Sri (2014) The positive consequences of pain: a biopsychosocial approach. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 18 3: 256-279. doi:10.1177/1088868314527831


Author Bastian, Brock
Jetten, Jolanda
Hornsey, Matthew J.
Leknes, Sri
Title The positive consequences of pain: a biopsychosocial approach
Journal name Personality and Social Psychology Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1088-8683
1532-7957
Publication date 2014-08
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/1088868314527831
Open Access Status
Volume 18
Issue 3
Start page 256
End page 279
Total pages 24
Place of publication Thousand Oaks, CA, United States
Publisher Sage Publications
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract Pain is mostly thought of as a problem—as debilitating or harmful. Despite its unpleasantness, however, under some conditions pain can be associated with positive consequences. In this review, we explore these positive biological, psychological, and social consequences of pain. We highlight three different domains in which pain may be considered to have positive consequences. First, pain facilitates pleasure by providing an important contrast for pleasurable experiences, increasing sensitivity to sensory input, and facilitating self-rewarding behavior. Second, pain augments self-regulation and enhancement by increasing cognitive control, reducing rumination, and demonstrating virtue. Third, pain promotes affiliation by arousing empathy from others, motivating social connection, and enhancing group formation. Drawing on evidence scattered across a range of academic fields, we provide for reflection on how pain is represented, generate insights into pain-seeking behavior, and draw attention to the role of painful experiences in maximizing positive outcomes.
Keyword Pain
Biopsychosocial
Pleasure
Sensory
Challenge
Threat
Virtue
Empathy
Social connection
Affiliation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
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