The Impact of Stress on Autonomic Functioning in Chronic Abdominal Pain Patients
Tillman, Davlyn M.
This study examined the effect of social stress on chronic abdominal pain patients. Chronic abdominal pain (CAP) is a type of chronic pain common in children, experienced by 10-15 % of young children. Stress has been noted to influence the experience of CAP by increasing emotional distress and physical problems. Increased reaction to stress can be assessed by measuring physiological changes, including changes in blood pressure, and also by comparing changes in positive and negative affect. Study participants were subjected to laboratory social stress while their blood pressures were measured. Participants' levels of positive and negative affect in response to the stress were also assessed through self-report surveys. The study tested the hypothesis that non-recovered CAP patients would show greater changes in blood pressure, lower positive affect, and higher negative affect in response to the stress than recovered CAP patients and well subjects. The results found no significance difference in blood pressure changes and self-reports of affect between the non-recovered CAP, recovered CAP, and well participants.