Hope Against the Cold: Individual Differences in Trait Hope and Acute Pain Tolerance on the Cold Pressor Task


For information about this and other research related to hope theory and measurement, write C. R. Snyder, 1415 Jayhawk Boulevard, Department of Psychology, 340 Fraser Hall, University of Kansas-Lawrence, Lawrence, KS 66045-2462, or correspond via e-mail to crsnyder@ku.edu.


Abstract Hope theory (see Snyder, 1994) is presented as a useful framework for understanding reactions to pain. In Study 1, persons scoring higher on the trait Hope Scale (Snyder, Harris et al., 1991) kept their hands in the freezing water (of a cold pressor task) for significantly longer. In Study 2, the higher-hope males, and not females, as measured by both trait and state hope (Snyder, Sympson et al., 1996), recognized the onset of the pain threshold significantly later. Moreover, in Study 2, results showed that individual differences measures of optimism, self-efficacy, depression, and positive and negative affects did not relate to the pain onset and tolerance variables. The implications of hope as related to the pain process and related research are discussed.