Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4147-5366

Year of Publication

2019

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Christal L. Badour

Abstract

Previous studies evaluating the impact of trauma history and PTSD on pain sensitivity yield inconsistent findings; the presence of trauma-related negative affective states may account for these discrepancies. Therefore, the proposed study aimed to evaluate the effect of trauma-related negative affect and PTSD symptoms on sensory and affective components of pain sensitivity among trauma-exposed women. Adult women (N = 87) with low and high PTSD symptoms underwent an emotional disclosure paradigm, during which they wrote about a traumatic event or a neutral topic. Participants then completed a pain induction procedure. Compared to women with low PTSD symptoms, women with high PTSD symptoms demonstrated increased time to pain detection (e.g., threshold) and ability to withstand pain (e.g., tolerance), as well as increased pain intensity and when accounting for relevant covariates. Women with high PTSD symptoms who wrote about their worst traumatic experience reported higher pain unpleasantness relative to women with high PTSD symptoms who wrote about the neutral topic and women with low PTSD symptoms who wrote about either topic. Results suggest that PTSD symptoms and trauma-related negative affect may facilitate alterations in pain sensitivity in trauma-exposed women, but this relationship is complex and requires further exploration.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2019.176

Funding Information

Professional Student Mentored Research Fellowship (PSMRF), Center for Clinical and Translational Science, University of Kentucky

Graduate Research Grant, Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology

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