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Research Article  |   September 1988
The Effect of Purposeful Activity on Pain Tolerance
Author Affiliations
  • Stephen A. Heck, MA, MOT, OTR, is an occupational therapist at the Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. (Mailing address: 4412 50th Avenue SW, Seattle, Washington 98116.)
Article Information
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Research Article   |   September 1988
The Effect of Purposeful Activity on Pain Tolerance
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 1988, Vol. 42, 577-581. doi:10.5014/ajot.42.9.577
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 1988, Vol. 42, 577-581. doi:10.5014/ajot.42.9.577
Abstract

Purposeful and nonpurposeful tasks were performed by 30 normal college-age students (15 male, 15 female) in a study examining the effectiveness of the two types of activity in prolonging tolerance to electrically induced pain. The subjects acted as their own controls, indicated their own threshold for stimulation, and were monitored for peripheral skin temperature and heart rate. Duration of tolerance was measured in seconds from attainment of threshold until the request by the subject that stimulation be stopped. Results indicated that the subjects tolerated pain significantly longer (p = .02) while performing the activity designated as purposeful. No significant differences in peripheral skin temperature or heart rate were found under the two conditions.