Positive Mood Induction Reducing Nocebo Effects

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A Positive Mood Induction for Reducing the Formation of Nocebo Effects from Side Effect Information.

Ann Behav Med. 2019 Mar 11;:

Authors: Geers AL, Close S, Caplandies FC, Vase L

BACKGROUND: Providing treatment side effect information can increase the occurrence of side effects through nocebo effects. Nocebo effects from side effect information raise a dilemma for health care, as there is an ethical obligation to disclose potential unpleasant treatment information to patients.
PURPOSE: To test the hypothesis that a positive mood induction can block the development of nocebo effects that result from treatment side effect information.
METHODS: In a laboratory setting, healthy participants were assigned to one of four conditions in a between-subjects randomized factorial trial. First, participants took part in a mood induction procedure, with half receiving a positive mood induction and the other half a neutral mood induction. Next, participants were told they would experience transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Prior to a sham tDCS task, half of the participants were informed that headache pain is a side effect of tDCS, whereas the other half were not given this information.
RESULTS: In the neutral mood condition, the provision of headache side effect information lead to a greater occurrence of headaches, more frequent headaches, and a higher maximum level of headache pain as compared to those given no side effect information. In the positive mood condition, a similar increase in headache pain did not manifest from the provision of side effect information.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first experiment to find that a positive mood induction can block the formation of nocebo effects that arise from side effect information. Inducing positive moods may be an effective strategy for reducing nocebo effects in a variety of clinical settings.

PMID: 30855691 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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