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Research has shown that self-efficacy and expectation both have unique influences on pain tolerance, and that expectation may mediate the relationship between self-efficacy and pain tolerance. In this study, I manipulated both expectation and self-efficacy and compared their influences on pain expectation using a cold pressor tolerance task and a mixed study design with both between-groups and repeated-measures factors. I hypothesized that both expectation and self-efficacy would have an influence on pain tolerance, but that self-efficacy would cause a greater change in tolerance from the first to the second cold pressor task than expectation would. Analyses of the independent influences of expectation and self-efficacy on pain tolerance revealed that expectation had a significant impact on pain tolerance, with the high pain expectation group tolerating less pain than the low pain expectation group. There were no significant differences between the high and low self-efficacy groups. While this does not allow us to compare self-efficacy and expectation, or to explore expectation’s possible mediating influence on self-efficacy, it does give us insight into expectation’s independent influence on pain tolerance. The potential impact of this information on the care of patients undergoing painful medical procedures is discussed.
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Molineaux, Olivia, "This Won't Hurt a Bit: The Influence of Self-Efficacy and Expectation on Pain Tolerance" (2012). Senior Projects Spring 2012. 311.