Styles of pain coping predict cardiovascular function following a cold pressor test

Robert R. Edwards, Roger B. Fillingim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: While many studies have examined the impact of pain-related coping in adjustment to chronic pain, relatively few have evaluated the physiological consequences of differences in pain-coping styles. Objective: The association between strategies for coping with pain and cardiovascular functioning following exposure to painfully cold water was evaluated. Methods: Impedance cardiography was used to assess cardiovascular functioning in 50 healthy subjects before and after a cold pressor test. Results: The self-reported use of active pain-coping strategies was associated with reductions in mean arterial pressure and cardiac contractility from pre- to post-cold pressor. In contrast, higher levels of pain catastrophizing were related to increases in cardiac contractility following acute cold pain. Importantly, coping variables predicted cardiovascular responses, whereas characteristics of the noxious stimulus (pain tolerance time and pain ratings) did not. Conclusions: These findings highlight the importance of coping styles in shaping physiological responses to pain and suggest that interventions targeting increases in adaptive coping and decreases in pain catastrophizing may reduce pain's adverse impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-222
Number of pages4
JournalPain Research and Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Cardiovascular
  • Catastrophizing
  • Cold pressor
  • Coping
  • Impedance cardiography
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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