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Abstract

Current theories suggest that social and physical pain overlap in their neurological and physiological outcomes. We investigated how social and physical pain overlap in their psychological responses by testing the hypothesis that both social and physical pain would thwart satisfaction on four human needs, worsen mood, and increase desire to aggress. In Experiment 1, recalling an experience of social or physical pain produced overlapping effects in the form of thwarted self-esteem and control needs and increased negative affect and desire to aggress. In Experiment 2, we induced social (Cyberball ostracism) or physical pain (cold pressor) within the laboratory session, and found that both pain types produced feelings of being ignored and excluded, and thwarted belonging, self-esteem, control, and meaningful existence. Our results provide further support to pain overlap theories and indicate that social and physical pain cause common psychological consequences, resulting in new ways to understand and manage pain. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.