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Title: Competing goals attenuate avoidance behavior in the context of pain
Authors: Claes, Nathalie ×
Karos, Kai
Meulders, Ann
Crombez, Geert
Vlaeyen, Johan #
Issue Date: Aug-2014
Publisher: Churchill Livingstone
Series Title: The Journal of Pain vol:15 pages:1120-1129
Article number: S1526-5900(14)00856-6
Abstract: Current fear-avoidance models consider pain-related fear as a crucial factor in the development of chronic pain. Yet, pain-related fear often occurs in a context of multiple, competing goals. This study investigated whether pain-related fear and avoidance behavior are attenuated when individuals are faced with a pain avoidance goal and another valued but competing goal, operationalized as obtaining a monetary reward. Fifty-five healthy participants moved a joystick towards different targets. In the experimental condition, a movement to one target (Conditioned Stimulus; CS+) was followed by a painful unconditioned stimulus (pain-US) and a rewarding unconditioned stimulus on 50% (reward-US) of the trials, whereas the CS- movement was not. In the control condition, the CS+ movement was followed by the pain-US only. Results showed that pain-related fear was elevated in response to the CS+ compared to the CS- movement, but that it was not influenced by the reward-US. Interestingly, participants initiated a CS+ movement slower than a CS- movement in the control condition, but not in the experimental condition. Also, in choice trials, participants performed the CS+ movement more frequently in the experimental than in the control condition. These results suggest that the presence of a valued competing goal can attenuate avoidance behavior.
ISSN: 1526-5900
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Health Psychology
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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