Emotion Regulation (ER) During Experimental Pain Stimulation in Migraine Patients and Controls


  • D. König
  • B.S. Hold
  • J. Schramml
  • D.M. Pfabigan
  • J. Blechert
  • C. Lamm


Chronic pain such as migraine is associated with emotional impairments and the use of maladaptive ER. We studied if migraineurs compared to pain-free controls can reduce negative emotions by employing the adaptive ER strategies reappraisal or distraction during experimental pain stimulation. To do so, 66 women (33 migraineurs, 33 controls) were randomized to one of three conditions (reappraisal, distraction, control) and exposed to 20 electric pain stimulation trials. After each trial participants rated their anticipatory anxiety and pain perception. Additionally, physiological parameters (skin conductance, heart rate) were recorded throughout the experiment. Compared to the control condition, reappraisal and distraction led to strong reductions in anticipatory anxiety and pain perception that were equivalent in migraineurs and controls. Physiological parameters are analyzed at present. When following instructions how to adaptively regulate emotions while anticipating and receiving pain, migraineurs are as capable as controls to reduce anxiety and pain perception. Thus, migraineurs could benefit from promoting reappraisal and distraction to regulate emotions and pain.






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