Presentation “Stigma and chronic pain” by Lies de Ruddere (U Ghent)

Health for all (H4A): A psychosocial approach

24 March, 2017

The presentation will focus on chronic nonmalignant pain, which is a major health complaint, and a great personal, social and economic burden for Europeans. Ruddere studied how observers understand others pain and found that when pain is not medically understood, observers take it less seriously. Her postdoc focuses on social rejection in people with medically unexplained pain. Ruddere is a post-doctoral researcher in the Ghent Health Psychology Lab at Ghent University and a board member of the Belgian Pain Society. 

Presentation Abstract

Chronic nonmalignant pain is a major health complaint, related to an enormous social and economic burden in Europe. Further, chronic pain has a major personal impact; yet, not all patients with chronic pain are disabled to the same extent. Several models have been developed to explain this variability. For example, the fear-avoidance model predicts that catastrophizing (i.e., the degree to which pain is perceived as highly threatening) contributes to pain related disability. Although worthwhile, these illness perception models do not take into account the broader devaluing and even stigmatizing social context in which chronic pain is experienced. This presentation will focus upon stigma with regard to chronic pain. In particular, a systematic line of experimental research indicating the stigmatizing reactions of others towards individuals with chronic pain will be presented. Furthermore, new research lines in the field of pain and stigma will be put forward. For example, the use of an innovative methodology, i.e., social network analyses will be discussed. 

Details:  Friday, 24 March, 2017 from 13:00-14:30, room C2.02, ISCTE-IUL

SHORT BIO of Lies de Ruddere

Because of her main interest in health psychology, Lies started to work at the Ghent Health Psychology Lab (Ghent University) immediately after graduation in 2008. She started a PhD project that focused on the social context of an individual's pain experience. Lies studied several potential factors that influence the estimation of pain by observers. As a main result, Lies found that observers take the pain of others less seriously when the pain is not medically understood.

In October 2013, Lies started a new line of research to further investigate the interpersonal context of individuals with ('medically unexplained') pain. Her post doc focuses on the role of stigma and social exclusion upon the wellbeing of people with 'medically unexplained' pain. Since 2015, Lies is also a board member and scientific counselor of the Belgian Pain Society, the Belgian Chapter of the International Association for the Study of Pain.



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