Dancing in Pain
Pain Appraisal and Coping in Dancers
Ruth Anderson, B.Soc.Sc, M.Psych., and Stephanie J. Hanrahan, M.A., M.Sc, Ph.D.
This study investigated the relationships between the type of pain experienced (performance pain and injury pain), the cognitive appraisal of pain and pain coping styles in dancers. Fifty-one professional ballet and contemporary dancers (17 males and 34 females}, with the mean age of 25.9 years, completed a general pain questionnaire, the Pain Appraisal Inventory, the Survey of Pain Attitudes Control Subscale, and the Sports Inventory for Pain. Multivariate analyses of variance indicated that both the cognitive appraisal of the pain and pain coping styles did not differ according to the type of pain experienced or the pain severity. However, it was found that dancers with performance pain of either low or high severity were more likely to dance in pain than dancers experiencing injury pain. Multiple regression analyses indicated that the appraisal of pain as threatening was predictive of the use of avoidance and catastrophizing pain coping styles. Overall, results indicated that dancers may not differentiate between performance pain and injury pain, or modify their appraisal and coping strategies according to the characteristics of the pain experienced. The study highlighted an opportunity for increased education for dancers in recognizing the difference between pain considered co be a routine aspect of training and pain which is a signal of serious injury.
Journal of Dance Medicine & Science • Volume 12, Number 1, 2008