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Press Release: EFIC 2013: Social rejection reinforces the sensation of pain

Written by | 4 Nov 2013 | All Medical News

Social rejection and marginalisation do not only cause emotional pain but also show impact on sensory dimensions of physical pain. This is demonstrated by a new study from Portugal, which was presented at the Congress of the European Pain Federation EFIC in Florence.

Social rejection increases the intensity ratings of physical pain. This conclusion has been found by a current study by the Portuguese Catholic University and the University of Lisbon, which was presented at the Congress of the European Pain Federation EFIC in Florence.

“Previous studies have shown that social pain, resulting from injury of social bonds, may influence the emotional aspects of the pain experience”, according to study author Dr Rita Canaipa from the Portuguese Catholic University. “Recent research, however, has shown that social pain may also involve the sensory areas of physical pain. These relations and the impact of psychological characteristics on susceptibility to pain were investigated in this study.”

41 participants answered questionnaires measuring a number of physical and psychological characteristics. After identifying their pain threshold, the participants played Cyberball, a virtual ball-tossing game designed to manipulate social rejection feelings. After this manipulation, they were exposed to painful stimuli, and had to rate their intensity.

“Rejected participants would rate stimuli as more intense than other participants”, according to Dr Canaipa. “This effect remains even after the rejection situation and seems to be related to feelings of losing control and efficacy in social situations. Our results show that social rejection does have an impact on sensory, and not only emotional, dimensions of physical pain.”

Source: EFIC Abstract Canaipa et al, Feeling hurt: social rejection modulates sensory dimensions of physical pain


EFIC Press Office:
Dr Birgit Kofler
Ph. after the Congress: +43-1-319 43 78-13
E-mail: kofler@bkkommunikation.com

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