Chronic stress moderates the impact of social exclusion on pain tolerance: an experimental investigation
Authors Pieritz K, Schäfer SJ, Strahler J, Rief W, Euteneuer F
Received 9 December 2016
Accepted for publication 7 March 2017
Published 17 May 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 1155—1162
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Enrica Santarcangelo
Karoline Pieritz,1 Sarina J Schäfer,2 Jana Strahler,3 Winfried Rief,1 Frank Euteneuer1
1Division of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Philipps Universität, Marburg, 2Division of Psychological Methods and Evaluation, Fernuniversität, Hagen, 3Division of Psychotherapy and Systems Neuroscience, Justus-Liebig-Universität, Giessen, Germany
Background: Experiences of social pain due to social exclusion may be processed in similar neural systems that process experiences of physical pain. The present study aimed to extend the findings on social exclusion and pain by examining the impact of social exclusion on an affective (ie, heat pain tolerance) and a sensory component of pain (ie, heat pain intensity). Whether a potential effect may be moderated by chronic life stress, social status, or social support was further examined.
Materials and methods: A community-based sample of 59 women was studied. Social exclusion and inclusion were experimentally manipulated by using a virtual ball-tossing game called Cyberball in which participants were randomly assigned to either being excluded or being included by two other virtual players. Heat pain tolerance and intensity were assessed before and after the game. Potential psychosocial moderators were assessed via a questionnaire.
Results: The main finding of this study is that chronic stress moderates the impact of social exclusion on pain tolerance (p<0.05). When chronic stress was high, socially excluded participants showed a lower heat pain tolerance than participants who were socially included. Contrary to the authors’ hypothesis, pain sensitivity was increased in socially included participants compared with socially excluded participants after the game (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Higher levels of chronic stress may enhance the vulnerability of affective pain processing to acute social exclusion.
Keywords: social pain, Cyberball, social inclusion, pain intensity, affective pain component, sensory pain component
This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.Download Article [PDF] View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]
Other articles by this author:
Pieritz K, Rief W, Euteneuer F
Published Date: 19 August 2015
The predictive value of somatic and cognitive depressive symptoms for cytokine changes in patients with major depression
Dannehl K, Rief W, Schwarz MJ, Hennings A, Riemer S, Selberdinger V, Stapf T, Euteneuer F
Published Date: 28 June 2014