Psychology of pain

Study level: Undergraduate study programme in psychology
Lecturers: Dragutin Ivanec, Ph.D.
Language: Croatian
Semester: 3rd (winter)
Status: elective
Form of instruction with class hours: 30 hours of lectures
Prerequisites: Biological psychology I
Student evaluation: written and oral exam

Course description

The following topics will be systematically covered within the course: the meaning of the idiom “psychology of pain”. Biological foundations of pain. Theories of pain. Measuring pain. Contextual characteristics of experiencing pain. Individual differences in experiencing pain (gender, personality traits, cultural and racial differences). Placebo effect. Psychological states and pain (emotions, attention). Chronic pain and coping strategies. Psychological treatments of pain.

Course objectives

The aim of the course is to familiarize the students about the ways that psychology, as a science and a profession, treats the experience of pain. Students have to acquire specific knowledge about the nature of pain. The emphasis is put on connecting psychological factors with the intensity and quality of pain. Students are also familiarized with the treatments of pain used in psychology.

Required readings

Havelka, M (ur.) (1998). Zdravstvena psihologija (chapter on pain). Jastrebarsko: Naklada Slap.
Hadjistavropoulos, T., & Craig, K.D. (Eds.) (2004). Pain: Psychological Perspectives. London: LEA.
Ivanec, D. (2004). Psihološki čimbenici akutne boli. Suvremena psihologija, 7(2), 271-309.

Recommended readings

Price, D.D. (1999). Psychological Mechanisms of Pain and Analgesia. Progress in Pain Research and Management. Vol. 15. Seattle: IASP Press.
Melzack, R., & Wall, P.D. (1996). The challenge of pain. Penguin Books
Wall, P.D., & Melzack, R. (1989 or newer). Textbook of Pain. Edinburgh: Churchil Livingstone.