Psychology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-11-2019


Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a common condition that can lead to emotional distress and physical disability. Fear of pain, a phobic-like response to pain, can contribute to significant avoidance behavior and is associated with disrupted physical and emotional functioning. While questionnaires remain the standard for measurement of pain-related fear, recent work has explored the use of implicit methods. This study aimed to use an implicit measure, the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP), to assess convergent and predictive validity of implicit pain-related fear in relation to explicit self-report measures. Seventy-four participants with CLBP were recruited and completed the pain-related fear IRAP, along with self-report measures of pain-related fear, distress, and disability, as well as three physical performance tasks. Both explicit and implicit biases were demonstrated in participants, suggesting the presence of pain-related fear, however, implicit pain-related fear failed to demonstrate convergent and predictive validity. Therefore, implicit pain-related fear, while present in patients with CLBP, may not provide additional utility above and beyond explicit measures of pain-related fear.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Kevin E. Vowles

Second Committee Member

Derek Hamilton

Third Committee Member

Yu Yu Hsaio

Fourth Committee Member

Ron Andrews




pain, relational frame theory, movement, language, implicit, explicit, assessment

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Included in

Psychology Commons