Fear of Pain

Gordon J. G. Asmundson and R. Nicholas Carleton

in Oxford Handbook of Anxiety and Related Disorders

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780195307030
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Fear of Pain

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Fear of pain is a construct that denotes both pain-related fear and pain-related anxiety. The construct and associated fear-anxiety-avoidance models have stimulated considerable research and the development of an effective treatment known as graded exposure in vivo. This chapter has several purposes. After providing a theoretical overview, descriptive and diagnostic issues pertinent to fear of pain are described. Several conceptual controversies are also discussed, including the differential role of fear and anxiety in pain-related avoidance, and whether fear of pain is best conceptualized as a simple phobia or a fundamental predilection to be fearful of anxiety symptoms. Assessment and treatment options for elevated fear of pain are described in detail and with reference to relevant empirical literature. The chapter concludes with suggested avenues for future research.

Keywords: anxiety; assessment; fear; in vivo exposure; kinesiophobia; pain; treatment

Article.  6953 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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