The Impact of Adverse Childhood Events on Temporal Summation of Second Pain



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Adverse childhood events have been identified as a risk factor for developing chronic pain conditions in adulthood. However, previous studies have inconsistently supported the link between adverse childhood events and hypersensitivity to laboratory-induced pain. Therefore, this study intended to investigate the effects of adverse childhood events on temporal summation of second pain (TSSP). A group of 38 healthy and pain-free college students participated in laboratory pain tests after being screened for childhood trauma history. Half of participants (47.5% female) were positive for childhood trauma and the other half (63.2% female) reported no adverse childhood event. The laboratory pain tests measured TSSP using 10 thermal pulses per trial over four consecutive trials. The trauma group showed a tendency of greater sensitization within TSSP trials and lack of habituation over repeated TSSP trials. In sum, adverse childhood events predisposed adults to enhanced TSSP, which is potentially linked to an increased likelihood to develop chronic pain problems.