Date of Award

Fall 12-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Applied Biopsychology



Major Professor

Greve, Kevin

Second Advisor

Laird, Robert

Third Advisor

Soignier, Denis


Placebo’s (positive expectancies producing positive outcomes) and nocebo’s (negative expectancies producing negative outcomes) are real and measurable effects. Real as these effects may be, predicting individuals that may be susceptible to placebo/nocebo effects has been inconsistent. The present study examined whether measures designed to assess somatization (MSPQ), catastrophizing (PCS) and childhood trauma (CTQ) would predict placebo and nocebo membership. In addition, measures designed to assess anxiety (ASI) anxiety about pain (PASS) and depression (BDI) were evaluated to determine whether anxiety or depression mediates responsiveness. The Hargreaves Thermal Withdrawal test and the submaximal effort tourniquet technique were employed as pain vehicles for the measurement of group differences. No significant effects of planned analyses were observed. However, unplanned analyses of childhood trauma subscales indicated that physical and emotional abuse predicted placebo response. Additionally, emotional neglect trended toward predicting nocebo responsiveness. These results indicate that further studies, correcting for weaknesses, is warranted.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.