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The effects of competition and exercise on pain perception

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Title: The effects of competition and exercise on pain perception
Author: Smith, Lauren D.
Advisor: Sternberg, Wendy
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Psychology
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Running Time: 434127 bytes110819 bytes
Issue Date: 2004
Abstract: One of the most ubiquitous examples of stress-induced analgesia that is easily observed is the pain reduction athletes experience during competition. There is anecdotal evidence for this phenomenon but there is an omission in the literature of conclusive systematic investigations of athletes' responses to noxious stimuli under competitive stress. The purpose of the present study was to examine the nature of stress involved in interpersonal competition, and to determine which component of athletic competition, psychological stress or physical exertion, is a trigger for endogenous pain inhibitory systems. The results demonstrate stress-induced analgesia as a result of strenuous exercise in athletes and non-athletes--an increase in pain threshold and a reduction in pain ratings that increases under competitive stress. The present study will add to the research on the contribution of stress to athletic competition induced analgesia and identifies how the circumstances necessary to elicit a stress-induced analgesic response during competition interact with gender and athletic status.
Subject: Pain perception
Subject: Pain -- Effect of exercise on
Subject: Stress (Physiology)
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Smith, Lauren D.. "The effects of competition and exercise on pain perception". 2004. Available electronically from

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