Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Understanding the contribution of racially and ethnically discordant interactions to pain disparities: proximal mechanisms and potential solutions. Pain Ashton-James, C. E., Anderson, S. R., Hirsh, A. T. 2022

    View details for DOI 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002698

    View details for PubMedID 35594518

  • The impact of COVID-19 on patients with chronic pain seeking care at a tertiary pain clinic. Scientific reports Ziadni, M. S., You, D. S., Cramer, E. M., Anderson, S. R., Hettie, G., Darnall, B. D., Mackey, S. C. 2022; 12 (1): 6435


    Empirical data on the health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic remain scarce, especially among patients with chronic pain. We conducted a cross-sectional study matched by season to examine patient-reported health symptoms among patients with chronic pain pre- and post-COVID-19 pandemic onset. Survey responses were analyzed from 7535 patients during their initial visit at a tertiary pain clinic between April 2017-October 2020. Surveys included measures of pain and pain-related physical, emotional, and social function. The post-COVID-19 onset cohort included 1798 initial evaluations, and the control pre-COVID-19 cohort included 5737 initial evaluations. Patients were majority female, White/Caucasian, and middle-aged. The results indicated that pain ratings remained unchanged among patients after the pandemic onset. However, pain catastrophizing scores were elevated when COVID-19 cases peaked in July 2020. Pain interference, physical function, sleep impairment, and emotional support were improved in the post-COVID-19 cohort. Depression, anxiety, anger, and social isolation remained unchanged. Our findings provide evidence of encouraging resilience among patients seeking treatment for pain conditions in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, our findings that pain catastrophizing increased when COVID-19 cases peaked in July 2020 suggests that future monitoring and consideration of the impacts of the pandemic on patients' pain is warranted.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41598-022-10431-5

    View details for PubMedID 35440688

  • Comparative efficacy of a single-session "Empowered Relief" videoconference-delivered group intervention for chronic pain: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials Ziadni, M. S., Anderson, S. R., Gonzalez-Castro, L., Darnall, B. D. 2021; 22 (1): 358


    BACKGROUND: Chronic pain is naturally aversive and often distressing for patients. Pain coping and self-regulatory skills have been shown to effectively reduce pain-related distress and other symptoms. In this trial, the primary goal is to pilot test the comparative efficacy of a single-session videoconference-delivered group pain education class to a waitlist control among patients with chronic pain.METHODS: Our study is a randomized clinical trial pilot testing the superiority of our 2-h single-session videoconference-delivered group pain education class against a waitlist control. We will enroll 120 adult patients with mixed etiology chronic pain and randomize 1:1 to one of the two study arms. We hypothesize superiority for the pain education class for bolstering pain and symptom management. Team researchers masked to treatment assignment will assess the outcomes up to 3 months post-treatment.DISCUSSION: This study aims to test the utility of a single-session videoconference-delivered group pain education class to improve self-regulation of pain and pain-related outcomes. Findings from our project have the potential to significantly reduce barriers to effective psychological treatment for pain, optimizing the delivery of increasingly vital online and remote-delivered intervention options.TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT04546685 . Registered on 04 September 2020.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s13063-021-05303-8

    View details for PubMedID 34022930

  • Expressive suppression to pain in others reduces negative emotion but not vicarious pain in the observer. Cognitive, affective & behavioral neuroscience Anderson, S. R., Li, W., Han, S., Reynolds Losin, E. A. 2021


    Although there are situations where it may be appropriate to reduce one's emotional response to the pain of others, the impact of an observer's emotional expressivity on their response to pain in others is still not well understood. In the present study, we examined how the emotion regulation strategy expressive suppression influences responses to pain in others. Based on prior research findings on expressive suppression and pain empathy, we hypothesized that expressive suppression to pain expression faces would reduce neural representations of negative emotion, vicarious pain, or both. To test this, we applied two multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA)-derived neural signatures to our data, the Picture Induced Negative Emotion Signature (PINES; Chang, Gianaros, Manuck, Krishnan, and Wager (2015)) and a neural signature offacial expression induced vicarious pain (Zhou et al., 2020). In a sample of 60 healthy individuals, we found that viewing pain expression faces increased neural representations of negative emotion and vicarious pain. However, expressive suppression to pain faces reduced neural representations of negative emotion only. Providing support for a connection between neural representations of negative emotion and pain empathy, PINES responses to pain faces were associated with participants' trait-level empathy and the perceived unpleasantness of pain faces. Findings suggest that a consequence of suppressing one's facial expressions in response to the pain of others may be a reduction in the affective aspect of empathy but not the experience of vicarious painitself.

    View details for DOI 10.3758/s13415-021-00873-1

    View details for PubMedID 33759062

  • Modeling neural and self-reported factors of affective distress in the relationship between pain and working memory in healthy individuals. Neuropsychologia Anderson, S. R., Witkin, J. E., Bolt, T., Llabre, M. M., Ashton-James, C. E., Reynolds Losin, E. A. 2021: 107766


    The relationship between pain and cognition has primarily been investigated in patients with chronic pain and healthy participants undergoing experimental pain. Recently, there has been interest in understanding the disruptive effects of non-experimental pain in otherwise healthy individuals. Recent studies suggest that healthy individuals reporting pain also demonstrate decrements in working memory (WM) performance, however factors contributing to this relationship remain poorly understood. The present study examined the association between everyday pain and WM in a large community-based sample of healthy individuals and investigated whether self-reported affective distress and medial frontal cortex activity might help to explain this relationship. To address these research questions, a large publicly available dataset from the Human Connectome Project (N = 416) was sourced and structural equation modeling was utilized to examine relationships between pain intensity experienced over the past 7 days, self-reported affective distress (composite measure), performance on a WM (n-back) task, and task-related activation in the medial frontal cortex. Examining participants who reported non-zero pain intensity in the last 7 days (n = 228), we found a direct negative association between pain intensity and performance on the WM n-back task, consistent with prior findings. Self-reported affective distress was not associated with WM performance. Additionally, pain intensity was indirectly associated with WM performance via WM task-related activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). Our findings suggest that everyday pain experienced outside of the laboratory by otherwise healthy individuals may directly impact WM performance. Furthermore, WM task-related increases in vmPFC activity may be a factor contributing to this relationship.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107766

    View details for PubMedID 33503490

  • Beyond pain, distress, and disability: the importance of social outcomes in pain management research and practice. Pain Ashton-James, C. E., Anderson, S. R., Mackey, S. C., Darnall, B. D. 2021

    View details for DOI 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002404

    View details for PubMedID 34252908

  • Efficacy of a Single-Session "Empowered Relief" Zoom-Delivered Group Intervention for Chronic Pain: Randomized Controlled Trial Conducted During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of medical Internet research Ziadni, M. S., Gonzalez-Castro, L., Anderson, S., Krishnamurthy, P., Darnall, B. D. 2021; 23 (9): e29672


    Cognitive behavioral therapy-pain is an evidence-based treatment for chronic pain that can have significant patient burden, including health care cost, travel, multiple sessions, and lack of access in remote areas.The study aims to pilot test the efficacy of a single-session videoconference-delivered empowered relief (ER) intervention compared to waitlist control (WLC) conditions among individuals with chronic pain. We hypothesized that ER would be superior to WLC in reducing pain catastrophizing, pain intensity, and other pain-related outcomes at 1-3 months posttreatment.We conducted a randomized controlled trial involving a web-based sample of adults (N=104) aged 18-80 years with self-reported chronic pain. Participants were randomized (1:1) to 1 of 2 unblinded study groups: ER (50/104, 48.1%) and WLC (54/104, 51.9%). Participants allocated to ER completed a Zoom-delivered class, and all participants completed follow-up surveys at 2 weeks and 1, 2, and 3 months posttreatment. All the study procedures were performed remotely and electronically. The primary outcome was pain catastrophizing 1-month posttreatment, with pain intensity, pain bothersomeness, and sleep disruption as secondary outcomes. We also report a more rigorous test of the durability of treatment effects at 3 months posttreatment. Data were collected from September 2020 to February 2021 and analyzed using intention-to-treat analysis. The analytic data set included participants (18/101, 17.8% clinic patients; 83/101, 82.1% community) who completed at least one study survey: ER (50/101, 49.5%) and WLC (51/104, 49%).Participants (N=101) were 69.3% (70/101) female, with a mean age of 49.76 years (SD 13.90; range 24-78); 32.7% (33/101) had an undergraduate degree and self-reported chronic pain for 3 months. Participants reported high engagement (47/50, 94%), high satisfaction with ER (mean 8.26, SD 1.57; range 0-10), and high satisfaction with the Zoom platform (46/50, 92%). For the between-groups factor, ER was superior to WLC for all primary and secondary outcomes at 3 months posttreatment (highest P<.001), and between-groups Cohen d effect sizes ranged from 0.45 to 0.79, indicating that the superiority was of moderate to substantial clinical importance. At 3 months, clinically meaningful pain catastrophizing scale (PCS) reductions were found for ER but not for WLC (ER: PCS -8.72, 42.25% reduction; WLC: PCS -2.25, 11.13% reduction). ER resulted in significant improvements in pain intensity, sleep disturbance, and clinical improvements in pain bothersomeness.Zoom-delivered ER had high participant satisfaction and very high engagement. Among adults with chronic pain, this single-session, Zoom-delivered, skills-based pain class resulted in clinically significant improvement across a range of pain-related outcomes that was sustained at 3 months. Web-based delivery of ER could allow greater accessibility of home-based pain treatment and could address the inconveniences and barriers faced by patients when attempting to receive in-person NCT04546685;

    View details for DOI 10.2196/29672

    View details for PubMedID 34505832

  • Clinician-Patient Racial/Ethnic Concordance Influences Racial/Ethnic Minority Pain: Evidence from Simulated Clinical Interactions. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.) Anderson, S. R., Gianola, M., Perry, J. M., Losin, E. A. 2020


    OBJECTIVE: Racial and ethnic minorities in the United States report higher levels of both clinical and experimental pain, yet frequently receive inadequate pain treatment. Although these disparities are well documented, their underlying causes remain largely unknown. Evidence from social psychological and health disparities research suggests that clinician-patient racial/ethnic concordance may improve minority patient health outcomes. Yet whether clinician-patient racial/ethnic concordance influences pain remains poorly understood.METHODS: Medical trainees and community members/undergraduates played the role of "clinicians" and "patients," respectively, in simulated clinical interactions. All participants identified as non-Hispanic Black/African American, Hispanic white, or non-Hispanic white. Interactions were randomized to be either racially/ethnically concordant or discordant in a 3 (clinician race/ethnicity) * 2 (clinician-patient racial/ethnic concordance) factorial design. Clinicians took the medical history and vital signs of the patient and administered an analogue of a painful medical procedure.RESULTS: As predicted, clinician-patient racial/ethnic concordance reduced self-reported and physiological indicators of pain for non-Hispanic Black/African American patients and did not influence pain for non-Hispanic white patients. Contrary to our prediction, concordance was associated with increased pain report in Hispanic white patients. Finally, the influence of concordance on pain-induced physiological arousal was largest for patients who reported prior experience with or current worry about racial/ethnic discrimination.CONCLUSIONS: Our findings inform our understanding of the sociocultural factors that influence pain within medical contexts and suggest that increasing minority, particularly non-Hispanic Black/African American, physician numbers may help reduce persistent racial/ethnic pain disparities.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/pm/pnaa258

    View details for PubMedID 32830855

  • Clinician-Patient Movement Synchrony Mediates Social Group Effects on Interpersonal Trust and Perceived Pain. The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society Goldstein, P. n., Losin, E. A., Anderson, S. R., Schelkun, V. R., Wager, T. D. 2020


    Pain is an unfortunate consequence of many medical procedures, which in some patients becomes chronic and debilitating. Among the factors affecting medical pain, clinician-patient (C-P) similarity and nonverbal communication are particularly important for pain diagnosis and treatment. Participants (N = 66) were randomly assigned to clinician and patient roles and were grouped into C-P dyads. Clinicians administered painful stimuli to patients as an analogue of a painful medical procedure. We manipulated the perceived C-P similarity of each dyad using groups ostensibly based on shared beliefs and values, and each patient was tested twice: Once with a same group clinician (concordant, CC) and once with a clinician from the other group (discordant, DC). Movement synchrony was calculated as a marker of nonverbal communication. We tested whether movement synchrony mediated the effects of group concordance on patients' pain and trust in the clinician. Movement synchrony was higher in CC than DC dyads. Higher movement synchrony predicted reduced pain and increased trust in the clinician. Movement synchrony also formally mediated the group concordance effects on pain and trust. These findings increase our understanding of the role of nonverbal C-P communication on pain and related outcomes. Interpersonal synchrony may be associated with better pain outcomes, independent of the specific treatment provided. PERSPECTIVE: This article demonstrates that movement synchrony in C-P interactions is an unobtrusive measure related to their relationship quality, trust toward the clinician, and pain. These findings suggest that interpersonal synchrony may be associated with better patient outcomes, independent of the specific treatment provided.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpain.2020.03.001

    View details for PubMedID 32544602

  • Feelings of Clinician-Patient Similarity and Trust Influence Pain: Evidence From Simulated Clinical Interactions JOURNAL OF PAIN Losin, E., Anderson, S. R., Wager, T. D. 2017; 18 (7): 787–99


    Pain is influenced by many factors other than external sources of tissue damage. Among these, the clinician-patient relationship is particularly important for pain diagnosis and treatment. However, the effects of the clinician-patient relationship on pain remain underexamined. We tested the hypothesis that patients who believe they share core beliefs and values with their clinician will report less pain than patients who do not. We also measured feelings of perceived clinician-patient similarity and trust to see if these interpersonal factors influenced pain. We did so by experimentally manipulating perceptions of similarity between participants playing the role of clinicians and participants playing the role of patients in simulated clinical interactions. Participants were placed in 2 groups on the basis of their responses to a questionnaire about their personal beliefs and values, and painful thermal stimulation was used as an analog of a painful medical procedure. We found that patients reported feeling more similarity and trust toward their clinician when they were paired with clinicians from their own group. In turn, patients' positive feelings of similarity and trust toward their clinicians-but not clinicians' feelings toward patients or whether the clinician and patient were from the same group-predicted lower pain ratings. Finally, the most anxious patients exhibited the strongest relationship between their feelings about their clinicians and their pain report. These findings increase our understanding of context-driven pain modulation and suggest that interventions aimed at increasing patients' feelings of similarity to and trust in health care providers may help reduce the pain experienced during medical care.We present novel evidence that the clinician-patient relationship can affect the pain experienced during medical care. We found that "patients" in simulated clinical interactions who reported feeling more similarity and trust toward their "clinicians" reported less pain, suggesting that increasing feelings of clinician-patient similarity and trust may reduce pain disparities.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpain.2017.02.428

    View details for Web of Science ID 000404946200004

    View details for PubMedID 28479279

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5590751

  • A sociocultural neuroscience approach to pain Culture & Brain Anderson, S. R., Reynolds Losin, E. A. 2017