Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Di Blasi, Z., Teahan, A., Bruton, L., Hammond, S., Murphy, M. 
Society for Interdisciplinary Placebo Studies conference
The influence of the practitioner-patient relationship on pain perception: a placebo-controlled RCT.
Leiden, the Netherlands
Invited Lectures (Conference)
Optional Fields
Background: Pain is associated with high health care costs, work absenteeism and poor mental health. There is extant research on the influence of pain management interventions, however much less is known about the effects of different forms of health care interactions on pain perception. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of health care interactions on pain perception. Methods: The effect of two styles of health care interaction was evaluated in a randomised, single-blind, placebo-controlled study of 100 pain free young adults (50 were male) in a single laboratory session. Fifty participants were randomised to receive an ‘enhanced’ interaction (e.g. friendly, reassuring) and 50 to receive a ‘limited’ interaction (e.g. formal, slightly rushed) on pain intensity, threshold and tolerance. Participants were told that the aim of this study was to examine the effects of intranasal oxytocin on pain perception, and that they would receive either oxytocin or placebo spray. All participants were randomised to placebo spray. Measures included the Consultation and Relational Empathy Scale (CARE), the Treatment Expectancy Questionnaire (TEQ), and pain tolerance, intensity and threshold were measured using the Cold Pressor Test (CPT). Results: Participants who were randomised to the enhanced consultation had significantly lower pain threshold than those randomised to the limited consultation (p=.29). Those participants also had significantly higher CARE scores. Conclusions: In a laboratory setting, when participants perceive the research clinician as empathetic, their pain perceptions change.