Article (Scientific journals)
Assessing suffering in experimental pain models: psychological and psychophysiological correlates
Brunner, Michael; Loeffler, Martin; Kamping, Sandra et al.
2017In Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 225 (1), p. 45-53
Peer reviewed


Full Text
Brunner et al. - 2017 - Zeitschrift für Psychologie.pdf
Publisher postprint (661.14 kB)
Request a copy

All documents in ORBilu are protected by a user license.

Send to


Keywords :
pain; suffering; psychophysics; psychophysiology
Abstract :
[en] Although suffering is a central issue in pain, there is only little research on this topic. The aim of this study was to assess suffering in an experimental context using various stimulation methods and durations, and to examine which psychological or psychophysiological measures covary with pain-related suffering. Twenty-one healthy volunteers participated in two experiments in which we used tonic thermal and phasic electric stimuli with short and long stimulus durations. The participants rated pain intensity, unpleasantness, and pain-related suffering on separate visual analog scales (VAS) and completed the Pictorial Representation of Illness and Self Measure (PRISM), originally developed to assess suffering in chronic illness. We measured heart rate, skin conductance responses (SCRs), and the electromyogram (EMG) of the musculus corrugator supercilii. For both heat and electric pain, we obtained high ratings on the suffering scale confirming that suffering can be evoked in experimental pain conditions. Whereas pain intensity and unpleasantness were highly correlated, both scales were less highly related to suffering, indicating that suffering is distinct from pain intensity and unpleasantness. Higher suffering ratings were associated with more pronounced fear of pain and increased private self-consciousness. Pain-related suffering was also related to high resting heart rate, increased SCR, and decreased EMG during painful stimulation. These results offer an approach to the assessment of suffering in an experimental setting using thermal and electric pain stimulation and shed light on its psychological and psychophysiological correlates.
Disciplines :
Neurosciences & behavior
Author, co-author :
Brunner, Michael
Loeffler, Martin
Kamping, Sandra
Bustan, Smadar
Gonzalez-Roldan, Ana Maria
Anton, Fernand ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Integrative Research Unit: Social and Individual Development (INSIDE)
Flor, Herta
External co-authors :
Language :
Title :
Assessing suffering in experimental pain models: psychological and psychophysiological correlates
Publication date :
12 July 2017
Journal title :
Zeitschrift für Psychologie
Publisher :
Volume :
Issue :
Pages :
Peer reviewed :
Peer reviewed
FnR Project :
FNR3936065 - Pain And Suffering: Form Philosophical Concepts To Psychobiological Mechanisms, 2010 (01/12/2011-31/03/2015) - Fernand Anton
Available on ORBilu :
since 20 December 2016


Number of views
116 (4 by Unilu)
Number of downloads
5 (0 by Unilu)

Scopus citations®
Scopus citations®
without self-citations
WoS citations


Similar publications

Contact ORBilu