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Patients with depression not only have to cope with depressive and physical symptoms but also face stigmatization due to mental illness. Pain is a clinical symptom of many patients with depression. However, it is unclear whether stigmatized experience associated with mental illness directly affects depressed patients' pain perception. Here, using the event reflection task, Study 1 (N = 95) examined whether stigmatized experiences due to depression would affect patients' self-reported pain assessment. Study 2 (N = 43) further employed thermal stimuli at different intensities to examine whether stigmatization would affect patients' evoked pain. We found that patients with depression who experienced stigmatization based on mental illness reported higher pain catastrophizing and performed increased pain perception for noxious stimuli than those who did not. Our studies provide first-hand experimental evidence of the effect of stigmatized experiences on depressed patients' pain perception. The findings contribute insights for improving clinical treatment, suggesting that interventions should minimize stigmatization associated with mental illness to help patients maintain healthier physical and psychological states.

Original publication




Journal article


Behav Res Ther

Publication Date





Depression, Mental illness, Pain perception, Stigmatization, Humans, Mental Disorders, Pain Perception, Pain, Health Status, Self Report, Depression