Date of Award

Summer 8-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Michael D. Anestis

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Joye C. Anestis

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Daniel W. Capron

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Bradley A. Green

Committee Member 4 Department



To prevent suicide, it is crucial to understand the mechanisms and processes associated with deaths by suicide. The capability for suicide is a critical factor that enables an individual to endure the physical pain necessary to make a lethal suicide attempt (Joiner, 2005; Klonsky & May, 2015). Few studies have examined whether the ability to tolerate and persist through pain are subject to momentary fluctuations during different emotional contexts. This study sought to directly compare the effects of sadness rumination and anger rumination on pain tolerance and pain persistence. Furthermore, this study aimed to examine the effect of heart rate on the aforementioned relationships. Specifically, it was hypothesized that rumination, particularly anger rumination, will elevate pain tolerance and pain persistence indirectly through increased heart rate. A sample of . A. 82 undergraduate students were randomly assigned into one of four conditions: control, anger, sadness, or anger with sadness and underwent an idiographic emotion (Pitman et al., 1987) and rumination induction (Nolen-Hoeksema & Morrow, 1993). They completed subjective and behavioral measures assessing emotion, impulsivity, and pain tolerance. Heart rate was measured at baseline, during cold pressor tests, following the cold pressor tests, and during both the emotion and rumination induction tasks. The results of this study suggest that only pain threshold may be subject to momentary fluctuations. The emotions on which participants were asked to ruminate also did not influence changes in their pain responses or heart rate throughout the experiment.