Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Bernice Marcopulos


Individuals who have an unreasonable fear of headache pain or painful re-injury during cognitive exertion are said to suffer from a pain-related fear referred to as cogniphobia. Specifically, individuals high in cogniphobia avoid cognitive tasks in an attempt to reduce the risk of initiating or exacerbating headache-related pain. While health beliefs concerning pain-related fear have been examined through the concept of kinesiophobia, defined as the unreasonable fear of pain or painful re-injury during physical movement, little research has been done through a cognitive framework. The health anxiety beliefs, metacognitive factors, and negative thinking patterns related to cogniphobia remain unclear. This study presents an analysis of predictors of the development of cogniphobia and an analysis of the effects of self-reported traumatic brain injury (TBI) history on cogniphobia in two studies. Study One investigated these hypotheses in data from 620 participants from an internet sample. Study Two utilized data from a sample of 251 college students. An independent samples t-test was used to determine group differences between those with a self-reported history of TBI and those without on cogniphobia scores in both Study One and Two. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the significance of metacognitive factors, health locus of control, and pain catastrophizing in predicting cogniphobia scores. These results highlight the role of TBI history on cogniphobia scores as well as the different health beliefs and pain attitudes that significantly impact pain-related fear. Additional implications for future clinical practice and research are discussed.



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