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Volume 10 , Issue 2
Spring 1996

Pages 141-150

Emotional and physiologic responses to laboratory challenges: Patients with temporomandibular disorders versus matched control subjects


PMID: 9133858

This study explored psychologic and physiologic factors differentiating patients with temporomandibular disorders (n = 23) from sex-, age-, and weight-matched asymptomatic control subjects. Each subject completed several standard psychologic questionnaires and then underwent two laboratory stressors (mental arithmetic and pressure-pain stimulation). Results indicated that patients with temporomandibular disorders had greater resting respiration rates and reported greater anxiety, sadness, and guilt relative to control subjects. In response to the math stressor, patients with temporomandibular disorders reacted with greater anger than did control subjects. There were no differences between patients with temporomandibular disorders and control subjects on pain measures or any other measured variable for the pressure-pain stimulation trial. In addition, there were no differences in electromyography levels between patients with temporomandibular disorders and control subjects. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for the etiology and treatment of this common and debilitating set of disorders.

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