Personality, cognitive appraisal and labor pain
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University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw, Poland
Submission date: 2016-04-29
Final revision date: 2016-09-11
Acceptance date: 2016-09-14
Online publication date: 2017-06-13
Publication date: 2017-05-19
Health Psychology Report 2017;5(4):304-313
The theories focusing on the central neural mechanisms also pointed to the role of psychological factors in shaping painful sensations.
The aim of the study was to explore direct and indirect effects of personality and cognitive appraisal of childbirth on experienced labor pain.

Participants and procedure
Labor pain was assessed twice by forty-five childbearing women aged 18-45 (M = 28.31, SD = 5.20; 23 participants were primiparous): on admission to the obstetrics clinic and two days postpartum. On the first occasion, experienced and anticipated pain (VAS) and cognitive appraisal of labor (KOS) were measured, while the second assessment included rating of pain in the second stage of labor (VAS) and personality traits (NEO-FFI).

Mediation analyses indicated indirect effects of conscientiousness on pain at the first stage of labor via challenge appraisal and of neuroticism and conscientiousness on recalled second stage labor pain intensity via threat/loss appraisal. Irrespective of personality traits, correlations were found between pain and cognitive appraisal in terms of threat/loss and challenge.

The findings showed the importance of conscientiousness and positive appraisal of labor for diminishing the experienced and memory for labor pain. Such positive appraisals can be reinforced in prenatal classes or trained with the support of close persons.
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