Pain anxiety in a social context: The integration of anxiety sensitivity and event expectancy

Enid Chung, Philip J. Moore, Rolf A. Peterson, Martin A. Katzman, Monica Vermani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research examined how individuals' anxiety sensitivity and their expectations about others combine to determine pain anxiety. Two studies - 1 with university students and 1 with clinical anxiety patients - were conducted in which participants were presented with multiple scenarios of a painful interaction with a medical technician. Each scenario represented a different level of event probability, from which subjective expectancies were obtained. Participants with low, moderate, and high anxiety sensitivity indicated how anxious they would feel (dependent measure) under each event expectancy condition (low, medium, high) in this mixed, quasi-experimental design. The results of the studies indicate that participants' anxiety sensitivity and expectancy were integrated additively to determine their pain anxiety. These findings may help explain how anxiety - particularly pain anxiety - develops in a social context, and they suggest that the most effective way to reduce this anxiety requires addressing both stress-related sensitivities and event-related expectancies. Additional findings and their theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-327
Number of pages11
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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