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Title: Factors affecting the measurement of pain in self and others
Author: McKechnie, J. G.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3625 027X
Awarding Body: Glasgow Caledonian University
Current Institution: Glasgow Caledonian University
Date of Award: 2008
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The primary aim of this study was to investigate factors affecting the assessment of the intensity of pain using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), such as hand preference, hand used, reading order and length of flankers. A second aim was to consider the assessment of the quality of recalled pain events of selfand others, taking into account memory and empathy for pain. A literature review revealed that intensity of pain is frequently measured in clinical and laboratory settings using a VAS. However, research into visual line bisection has found a tendency for healthy individuals to misbisect lines to the left of centre and this is termed pseudoneglect (Bowers and Heilman, 1980). A series of experiments on VAS bisection, trisection and quadrisection found that the mean signed errors for sinistrals and dextrals tended to be leftward and these errors were significantly more leftward when the left hand was used compared to the right. Marking of positions at the left end of the VAS found that mean signed errors were leftward and these were significant for dextrals with either hand, and sinistrals with the left hand. Mean signed errors for the right end of the VAS were only significant for dextrals with the right hand. When the longer flanker was at the left side ofthe VAS there were greater leftward deviations, which were significant with the right hand. There were greater leftward deviations when reading from the left when the longer flanker was to the right of the VAS. The implications for indicating mild, moderate and severe pain were discussed. Actively considering a pain experienced by self or another did not affect the direction of deviations however this significantly increased the absolute errors. Therefore considering pain could affect the ability ofa person to complete the VAS accurately. Cuing made a significant difference to recall a pain, as almost double the pain events were recalled when a cue was provided than when uncued. Recall ofintensity and quality of pain, indicated that the sensory aspect of pain was imagined fairly accurately, for common pains such as backache and arthritis. However the affective aspect was less likely to be imagined accurately. Intensity of another person's pain was over-estimated, and this was the case for health professionals, as well as for non-health professionals. The implications for the VAS were discussed as were cuing of pain events in light of current theories ofepisodic and autobiographical memory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available