Why pain is not taken seriously by others : an experimental analysis
De Ruddere, Lies Goubert, Liesbet Uzieblo, Katarzyna Vervoort, Tinne Caes, Line Crombez, Geert #
European Federation of Chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain
European Journal of Pain vol:13 pages:275
Research indicates that observers do not always estimate the pain of others accurately. Often, pain is underestimated. Given the important implications this may have for the management of pain (e.g. undertreatment), more insight into the process of pain estimation is required. According to the empathy-model of Goubert and colleagues (2005), the estimation of the pain is an important aspect of the sense of knowing another person in pain. Three factors influence this sense of knowing: 1) bottom-up variables (characteristics of the person in pain), 2) top-down variables (characteristics of the observer), and 3) contextual factors. A preliminary study will be presented. The study focuses on three top-down variables: observer’s catastrophic thinking, dispositional empathy and psychopathy. We hypothesized that higher levels of catastrophic thinking and dispositional empathy are associated with more accurate estimation of pain and higher levels of psychopathy with a less accurate pain estimation. In line with predictions, higher scores on psychopathy were associated with a less accurate pain detection and a greater response bias. By contrast, higher scores on catastrophic thinking and dispositional empathy were not related to sensitivity, nor to response bias.