The net suppression effect of pain catastrophic cognition on anxiety sensitivity

Wing Sze WONG, Hiu Ming John LAM, Huey Sing LIM, Steven WONG, Phoon P. CHEN, Yu Fat CHOW, Richard FIELDING

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Introduction: The existing literature on chronic pain points to the effects anxiety sensitivity, pain hypervigilance, and pain catastrophizing on pain-related fear; however, the nature of the relationships remains unclear. The three dispositional factors may affect one another in the prediction of pain adjustment outcomes. The addition of one disposition may increase the association between another disposition and outcomes, a consequence known as suppressor effects in statistical terms. Objective: This study examined the possible statistical suppressor effects of anxiety sensitivity, pain hypervigilance and pain catastrophizing in predicting pain-related fear and adjustment outcomes (disability and depression). Methods: Chinese patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain (n=401) completed a battery of assessments on pain intensity, depression, anxiety sensitivity, pain vigilance, pain catastrophizing, and pain-related fear. Multiple regression analyses assessed the mediating/moderating role of pain hypervigilance. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to evaluate suppression effects. Results: Our results evidenced pain hypervigilance mediated the effects of anxiety sensitivity (Model 1: Sobel z=4.86) and pain catastrophizing (Model 3: Sobel z=5.08) on pain-related fear. Net suppression effect of pain catastrophizing on anxiety sensitivity was found in SEM where both anxiety sensitivity and pain catastrophizing were included in the same full model to predict disability (Model 9: CFI=0.95) and depression (Model 10: CFI=0.93) (all p<0.001). Conclusions: Our findings evidenced that pain hypervigilance mediated the relationship of two dispositional factors, pain catastrophic cognition and anxiety sensitivity, with pain-related fear. The net suppression effects of pain catastrophizing suggest that anxiety sensitivity enhanced the effect of pain catastrophic cognition on pain hypervigilance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


Wong, W., Lam, J., Lim, H., Wong, S., Chen, P., Chow, Y., et al. (2016, March). The net suppression effect of pain catastrophic cognition on anxiety sensitivity. Paper presented at the 24th European Congress of Psychiatry: Towards a common language in European psychiatry, Palacio Municipal de Congresos, Madrid, Spain.


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