Selective processing of threat-related cues in day surgery patients and prediction of post-operative pain

Munafò, M.R. and Stevenson, J. (2003) Selective processing of threat-related cues in day surgery patients and prediction of post-operative pain. British Journal of Health Psychology, 8, (4), 439-449.. (doi:10.1348/135910703770238293).


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Objective: To investigate the use of a measure of selective processing bias associated with anxiety as a predictor of post-operative pain independently of self-report measures of anxiety.

Methods: Forty-seven women admitted for minor gynaecological surgical procedures completed a selective processing task (modified Stroop) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory immediately prior to surgery. Following surgery they completed the McGill Short-Form Pain Questionnaire. Intraoperative analgesia consumption was also recorded.

Results: Participants demonstrated significantly slower colour-naming times for physical threat cues than control cues. This was not due to an emotionality effect, as colour-naming times for neutral and positive cues were not significantly different. This bias was congruent with the participants' current concerns, as colour-naming times were significantly slower for physical threat words than for social threat words. This index of selective processing bias significantly predicted post-operative pain independently of self-reported state and trait anxiety.

Conclusions: The advantages of measures of psychological constructs that are not reliant on self-reporting are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1348/135910703770238293
ISSNs: 1359-107X (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: R Medicine > RD Surgery
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Psychology > Division of Clinical Neuroscience
ePrint ID: 18394
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 11:34

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