Emotional regulation partly determines individuals' adaptation to physical and psychological stressors; pain included. Previous work shows that an anger expressive style (anger-out) may be related to high pain sensitivity via dysfunction in the endogenous opioid system. Crucial elements of this biopsychological relationship remain to be explored. Two studies will use an experimental model to examine effects of anger-out on responses to painful stimuli. They will test whether: 1) arousal of anger is necessary for full expression of endogenous opioid differences linked to trait anger-out; 2) the opioid system dysfunction related to high trait anger-out is influenced by actual (behavioral) expressions of anger during anger arousal. Study 1 subjects will randomly receive either placebo or opioid blockade (naltrexone) prior to undergoing tasks. They will undergo a computerized maze task with harassment (anger induction) followed by an ischemic pain task, or will undergo tasks in reverse order. Significant Anger-Out x Task Order x Drug interactions are expected to show that high anger-outs have greater pain sensitivity due to endogenous opioid pain regulatory dysfunction, and that this dysfunction is most prominent when anger is induced prior to pain. Study 2 subjects will be screened for High/Low trait anger-out, and will randomly receive either placebo or naltrexone prior to undergoing tasks. All subjects will undergo the maze task with harassment, with instructions to either suppress or overtly express anger aroused during the task; an ischemic pain task follows. Significant Anger-Out x Drug x Express/Suppress interactions are expected such that high anger-outs will have greater pain sensitivity due to opioid regulatory dysfunction, but that behavioral anger expression in high anger-outs will trigger opioid system activation to dampen effects of anger arousal. This project will complement and expand research about the neurohumoral substrates of emotional regulation, and will enhance understanding of the interplay of anger regulation and endogenous opioids in the modulation of stress and pain. ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Emotion, Stress and Health Study Section (MESH)
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Kozak, Michael J
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Rosalind Franklin University
Schools of Medicine
North Chicago
United States
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Burns, John W; Bruehl, Stephen; Chont, Melissa (2014) Anger regulation style, anger arousal and acute pain sensitivity: evidence for an endogenous opioid ""triggering"" model. J Behav Med 37:642-53
Bruehl, Stephen; Denton, Jerod S; Lonergan, Daniel et al. (2013) Associations between KCNJ6 (GIRK2) gene polymorphisms and pain-related phenotypes. Pain 154:2853-9
Burns, John W; Quartana, Phillip J; Gilliam, Wesley et al. (2012) Suppression of anger and subsequent pain intensity and behavior among chronic low back pain patients: the role of symptom-specific physiological reactivity. J Behav Med 35:103-14
Burns, John W; Quartana, Phillip; Bruehl, Stephen (2011) Anger suppression and subsequent pain behaviors among chronic low back pain patients: moderating effects of anger regulation style. Ann Behav Med 42:42-54
Burns, John W; Elfant, Erin; Quartana, Phillip J (2010) Suppression of pain-related thoughts and feelings during pain-induction: sex differences in delayed pain responses. J Behav Med 33:200-8
Gilliam, Wesley; Burns, John W; Quartana, Phillip et al. (2010) Interactive effects of catastrophizing and suppression on responses to acute pain: a test of an appraisal x emotion regulation model. J Behav Med 33:191-9
Quartana, Phillip J; Burns, John W (2010) Emotion suppression affects cardiovascular responses to initial and subsequent laboratory stressors. Br J Health Psychol 15:511-28
Bruehl, Stephen; Burns, John W; Chung, Ok Y et al. (2010) Hypoalgesia associated with elevated resting blood pressure: evidence for endogenous opioid involvement. J Behav Med 33:168-76
Quartana, Phillip J; Bounds, Sara; Yoon, K Lira et al. (2010) Anger suppression predicts pain, emotional, and cardiovascular responses to the cold pressor. Ann Behav Med 39:211-21
Burns, John W; Quartana, Phillip J; Elfant, Erin et al. (2010) Shifts in attention biases in response to acute pain induction: examination of a model of ""conversion"" among repressors. Emotion 10:755-66

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