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Pain, future possible selves and anticipated behavioural preferences

Maclean, Louise Charlotte (2015) Pain, future possible selves and anticipated behavioural preferences. D.Clin.Psychol thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Research has suggested that aspects of our self-concept can influence our decisions about behaviour. One way behaviour has been suggested to be influenced is through internal, value-laden goal states which are known as possible selves. These possible selves may have a role in motivating goal-oriented behaviours by inducing hopeful or fearful emotional states. Individuals who experience chronic pain often find their desired behavioural goals blocked, and yet not all of these individuals experience anxiety or depression. Therefore, it is clear that individual psychological factors play a part in determining behavioural responses and activity level in the face of ongoing pain. The purpose of this research was to investigate whether manipulating possible self-states could influence anticipated behaviours. It was predicted that individuals primed to imagine a more fearful pain-related possible future would report less activity. 159 participants were recruited from the University of Leeds student population. Participants were randomised to one of six experimental conditions, in a novel design developed for use in this study. Their anticipated activity levels were measured alongside an intervention designed to support them to generate either a feared-for pain future self, a hoped-for pain future self or a control future self. Individuals undergoing the feared-for self intervention anticipated significantly less post-intervention activity than participants in the other two groups. Furthermore, they reported significantly less anticipated activity for their future selves then their current self. This study has provided initial support for the viability of experimental manipulation of pain-related possible self-states on behaviours. However, future research in this area is necessary to support these findings. The implications of these findings are considered, alongside the study limitations and suggestions for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (D.Clin.Psychol)
Keywords: Pain, Possible selves, activity, behavioural preferences, experimental design
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Medicine and Health (Leeds) > Institute of Health Sciences (Leeds) > Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr Louise Maclean
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2016 09:02
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2019 01:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11699

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