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      More than meets the eye: visual attention biases in individuals reporting chronic pain

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      Journal of Pain Research

      Dove Medical Press

      attention, chronic pain, dot-probe task, eye-tracking

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          Abstract

          The present study used eye-tracking technology to assess whether individuals who report chronic pain direct more attention to sensory pain-related words than do pain-free individuals. A total of 113 participants (51 with chronic pain, 62 pain-free) were recruited. Participants completed a dot-probe task, viewing neutral and sensory pain-related words while their reaction time and eye movements were recorded. Eye-tracking data were analyzed by mixed-design analysis of variance with group (chronic pain versus pain-free) as the between-subjects factor, and word type (sensory pain versus neutral) as the within-subjects factor. Results showed a significant main effect for word type: all participants attended to pain-related words more than neutral words on several eye-tracking parameters. The group main effect was significant for number of fixations, which was greater in the chronic pain group. Finally, the group by word type interaction effect was significant for average visit duration, number of fixations, and total late-phase duration, all greater for sensory pain versus neutral words in the chronic pain group. As well, participants with chronic pain fixated significantly more frequently on pain words than did pain-free participants. In contrast, none of the effects for reaction time were significant. The results support the hypothesis that individuals with chronic pain display specific attentional biases toward pain-related stimuli and demonstrate the value of eye-tracking technology in measuring differences in visual attention variables.

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          Most cited references 57

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          Attentional bias in emotional disorders.

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            Theoretical perspectives on the relation between catastrophizing and pain.

            The tendency to "catastrophize" during painful stimulation contributes to more intense pain experience and increased emotional distress. Catastrophizing has been broadly conceived as an exaggerated negative "mental set" brought to bear during painful experiences. Although findings have been consistent in showing a relation between catastrophizing and pain, research in this area has proceeded in the relative absence of a guiding theoretical framework. This article reviews the literature on the relation between catastrophizing and pain and examines the relative strengths and limitations of different theoretical models that could be advanced to account for the pattern of available findings. The article evaluates the explanatory power of a schema activation model, an appraisal model, an attention model, and a communal coping model of pain perception. It is suggested that catastrophizing might best be viewed from the perspective of hierarchical levels of analysis, where social factors and social goals may play a role in the development and maintenance of catastrophizing, whereas appraisal-related processes may point to the mechanisms that link catastrophizing to pain experience. Directions for future research are suggested.
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              Fear-avoidance model of chronic pain: the next generation.

              The fear-avoidance (FA) model of chronic pain describes how individuals experiencing acute pain may become trapped into a vicious circle of chronic disability and suffering. We propose to extend the FA model by adopting a motivational perspective on chronic pain and disability. A narrative review. There is ample evidence to support the validity of the FA model as originally formulated. There are, however, some key challenges that call for a next generation of the FA model. First, the FA model has its roots in psychopathology, and investigators will have to find a way to account for findings that do not easily fit within such framework. Second, the FA model needs to address the dynamics and complexities of disability and functional recovery. Third, the FA model should incorporate the idea that pain-related fear and avoidance occurs in a context of multiple and often competing personal goals. To address these 3 key challenges, we argue that the next generation of the FA model needs to more explicitly adopt a motivational perspective, one that is built around the organizing powers of goals and self-regulatory processes. Using this framework, the FA model is recast as capturing the persistent but futile attempts to solve pain-related problems to protect and restore life goals.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                1178-7090
                2014
                19 September 2014
                : 7
                : 557-570
                Affiliations
                Department of Psychology, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Samantha Fashler or Joel Katz, Department of Psychology, York University, 4700 Keele Street, BSB 232, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada Tel +1 416 736 2100 ext 40557, Fax +1 416 736 5814, Email sfashler@ 123456yorku.ca or jkatz@ 123456yorku.ca
                Article
                jpr-7-557
                10.2147/JPR.S67431
                4181742
                © 2014 Fashler and Katz. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Categories
                Original Research

                Anesthesiology & Pain management

                eye-tracking, dot-probe task, chronic pain, attention

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