Psychobiological Processes in Health and Illness is an accessible and engaging introduction to the interrelationships between mind and body across a broad range of topics including infectious illness, autoimmunity, cancer and pain. Taking a biopsychosocial approach, it brings together research from a number of disciplines including health psychology, psychoneuroimmunology and behavioral genetics. The textbook presents established theoretical models relevant to psychobiological processes in health and illness, as well as recent developments in systems, technologies and intervention methods.



This chapter examines one aspect of experience where psychological and biological processes are particularly closely related - the experience of pain.

We begin by considering what the word ‘pain’ actually means. Is pain an emotional or a sensory experience? Does pain necessarily have to have a physical cause? How can we measure pain? How can individuals describe their pain to others in an objective manner? Is acute pain different from chronic pain?

We then go on to examine theories of pain and biopsychosocial aspects of pain and consider the implications of these theories for development of interventions.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this chapter you should be able to:

  • discuss the complexities involved in defining and measuring pain in both the research and clinical contexts
  • describe commonly used measurement ...
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