AbstractBackgroundIncreasing recall of instructions and advice in a pain consultation is important, since it is a prerequisite for adherence to treatment recommendations. However, interference due to pain-related distress may result in poor recall. Whereas there are some indications that recall can be increased by empathic communication that reduces interference, this interesting possibility remains largely untested experimentally.The current experiment aimed at studying effects of empathic communication, and more specifically validation, on recall during a pain test and possible mediators and moderators of this effect.MethodParticipants received either validating (N = 25) or invalidating responses (N = 25) from the experimenter during a pain provoking task, followed by self-report measures of interference (affect, situational pain catastrophizing) and recall (accurate and false memories of words).ResultsAs expected, the validated group exhibited higher accurate recall and less false memories following the pain test as compared to the invalidated group. This was partly due to the effect of interference being counteracted by moderating the relationship between pain catastrophizing and recall.ConclusionThese novel results suggest that validating communication can counteract interference due to pain catastrophizing on recall, at least in a controlled experimental setting.ImplicationsGood communication by health professionals is of utmost importance for adherence to pain management. The current results expand our knowledge on the effects of pain communication by establishing and explaining a clear link between empathic communication and recall, highlighting the role of pain catastrophizing.
Scandinavian Journal of Pain – de Gruyter
Published: Oct 1, 2017
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