Memory for pain? A comparison of non-experiential estimates and patients' reports of the quality and intensity of postoperative pain

Rohini Terry, Catherine A. Niven, Eric E. Brodie, Ray Jones, Morag A. Prowse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Prior research has questioned the extent to which postoperative retrospective ratings of acute pain actually reflect memory of that pain. To investigate this issue, pain ratings provided by patients who had undergone vascular surgery were compared with estimates of this pain provided by 2 groups of healthy, nonpatient participants with no personal experience of the surgery. Patient participants rated postoperative pain while actually experiencing it and again 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. Nonpatient groups read either a comprehensive information leaflet describing postoperative pain after vascular surgery, or a short general information leaflet about the surgery and provided 2 estimates of the likely nature of the pain, 4 to 6 weeks apart.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-349
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pain
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2008



  • post-operative pain
  • memory

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