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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Impact of Threat Level, Task Instruction, and Individual Characteristics on Cold Pressor Pain and Fear among Children and Their Parents
Authors: Boerner, Katelynn E
Noel, Melanie
Birnie, Kathryn A
Caes, Line
Petter, Mark
Chambers, Christine T
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Keywords: cold pressor task
pediatric pain
experimental methods
Issue Date: Jul-2016
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell for World Institute of Pain
Citation: Boerner KE, Noel M, Birnie KA, Caes L, Petter M & Chambers CT (2016) Impact of Threat Level, Task Instruction, and Individual Characteristics on Cold Pressor Pain and Fear among Children and Their Parents, Pain Practice, 16 (6), pp. 657-668.
Abstract: The cold pressor task (CPT) is increasingly used to induce experimental pain in children, but the specific methodology of the CPT is quite variable across pediatric studies. This study examined how subtle variations in CPT methodology (eg. provision of low- or high-threat information regarding the task; provision or omission of maximum immersion time) may influence children's and parents' perceptions of the pain experience. Forty-eight children (8 to 14 years) and their parents were randomly assigned to receive information about the CPT that varied on 2 dimensions, prior to completing the task: (i) threat level: high-threat (task described as very painful, high pain expressions depicted) or low-threat (standard CPT instructions provided, low pain expressions depicted); (ii) ceiling: informed (provided maximum immersion time) or uninformed (information about maximum immersion time omitted). Parents and children in the high-threat condition expected greater child pain, and these children reported higher perceived threat of pain and state pain catastrophizing. For children in the low-threat condition, an informed ceiling was associated with less state pain catastrophizing during the CPT. Pain intensity, tolerance, and fear during the CPT did not differ by experimental group, but were predicted by child characteristics. Findings suggest that provision of threatening information may impact anticipatory outcomes, but experienced pain was better explained by individual child variables. © 2015 World Institute of Pain.
Type: Journal Article
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Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Boerner, K. E., Noel, M., Birnie, K. A., Caes, L., Petter, M. and Chambers, C. T. (2016), Impact of Threat Level, Task Instruction, and Individual Characteristics on Cold Pressor Pain and Fear among Children and Their Parents. Pain Practice, 16: 657–668. doi: 10.1111/papr.12306, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Affiliation: Dalhousie University
Seattle Children’s
Dalhousie University
Victoria Hospital (Ontario)
Dalhousie University

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