Is all validation equal? Evaluating sensory- and emotion-focused validation in the context of experimentally induced pain
Validation has been examined in experimental and clinical settings, but examination of whether specific content of validation responses affect pain-related outcomes has not been considered. We examined the impact of sensory- or emotion-focused validation following a pain task. Participants (N = 140) were randomly assigned to one of three validation conditions (i.e. sensory, emotional, or neutral) and completed the cold pressor task (CPT). Participants provided self-report ratings of pain and affective-related variables. Subsequently, a researcher validated emotional, sensory, or no aspects of participants’ experience. The CPT was repeated, as were the self-report ratings. No significant differences were observed across conditions in pain or affective outcomes. All conditions reported an increase in pain intensity and pain unpleasantness across CPT trials. These findings suggest validation content may not impact pain outcomes during painful experiences. Future directions to understanding the nuances of validation across interactions and settings are discussed.