Individuals with depression who are stigmatized are also likely to experience pain more intensely and cognitively catastrophize pain, according to a new paper published in Behavior Research and Therapy. This research may assist clinicians in understanding and treating those who are stigmatized while coping with their physical limitations.
Depression is a mental illness that is linked to internal symptoms and social stigmatization. People with mental illnesses are often influenced by negative beliefs and stereotypes, resulting in decreased self-esteem, diminished self-efficacy, and psychological distress.
Depression sufferers may also experience unreported physical discomfort, which may arise as a result of both depressive and painful symptoms. However, the connection between stigmatization and pain perception isn't fully understood; Ming Zhang and colleagues sought to uncover more about this connection.
Two studies were conducted to test this hypothesis. In the first, 95 participants were recruited; 27 were placed in the "stigma" group, while the remaining were placed in the control group.
Both groups completed an assessment relating to pain, including the Pain Sensitivity Questionnaire, the Pain Vigilance and Awareness Questionnaire, and the Pain Catastrophizing Scale.
Study 2 included 43 participants (all from study 1), 15 of whom were in the stigma group. Participants assessed their pain tolerance, and then were asked to rate the pain of these pulses on a 1 to 10 scale.
Depression stigma is associated with an increased pain catastrophizing, according to the researchers. Pain catastrophizing is a term used to describe a psychological disorder that some individuals develop when they are in pain. It refers to the tendency to prolong and exaggerate the experience of pain.
The research team recognized a few flaws in their study: first, the sample sizes, and particularly the number of "stigma" groups, were relatively small. Second, the research was conducted with a group seeking treatment in a clinical setting.
Zhang and colleagues conclude that stigmatization affected depressed patients' pain catastrophizing and evoked pain perception. These findings support new experimental findings that stigmatization may enhance the wellbeing of depressed patients.
Ming Zhang, Yuqi Zhang, Yue Zhu, Xiaomin Lin, Yongkang Zhi, Yupu Zhu, Chuan Shi, and Yazhuo Kong wrote the paper "Stigmatized experience is associated with heightened pain perception in depressed patients."