- Behavioural Medicine, Affective and Motivational aspects of (chronic) pain
- Symptom Perception
- Somatoform disorders
Johan W.S. Vlaeyen studied psychology at the Free University of Brussels (Belgium) and did his clinical psychology internship at the University of Washington, Seattle (USA). He received his PhD at Maastricht University in 1991.
Main research interests
The main interest of Johan W.S. Vlaeyen is the understanding of cognitive and behavioral mechanisms of chronic disability due to somatic complaints and pain in particular, and the development and evaluation of customized cognitive-behavioral management strategies for individuals suffering chronic pain.
His experimental work has highlighted the role of the threat value of pain in the engagement of defensive responses such as increased physiological arousal, hypervigilance and escape/avoidance behaviors. He and his team currently are examining the role of fear learning, and the pathways to the development of pain-related fear including. These include fear learning through direct experience, contextual fear learning when pain is unpredictable, observational fear learning, and learning through verbal instructions.
Johan Vlaeyen and his team also have developed exposure-based treatments for fear-reduction and they have utilized randomized controlled trials as well as replicated single-case experimental designs to evaluate the effects of behavioral interventions for patients with chronic pain.
Editorial Responsibilities and Awards
Johan Vlaeyen is on the editorial board of journal Pain, European Journal of Pain, Clinical Journal of Pain, Translational Behavioral Medicine, and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
He co-edited the book “Understanding and Treating Fear of Pain”, received the Pain award of the Dutch Chapter of IASP, and obtained an honorary doctorate at the University of Örebro, Sweden for his scientific contributions in the area of pain psychology.
Funding ID (last 10 years)
2012 – 2015: PI: “Fear of pain in context: Influence of non-pain goals and goal conflicts on pain-related fear” (378.800,- €) Granted by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO, Belgium)
2012 – 2015: Co-PI with Lorimer Moseley “The imprecision hypothesis of chronic pain” NHMRC Australia.
2011 – 2015: Co-PI Hercules Fund (Flanders) for acquisition of lab equipment “(440.000,- €).
2010 – 2017: Co-PI University of Leuven Center of Excellence Grant “Generalization in Ill Health and Psychopathology – GRIPP-TT” (1.800.000,- €).
2010 – 2012: Co-applicant NWO Middle-Size investment “A Virtual reality laboratory for Psychological and neuroscientific investigations of normal and deviant human behavior (640.000,- €).
2007 – 2011: PI: Flemish Odysseus Grant “Psychology of Pain and Disability Research Program” (2.000.000,- €). Granted by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO, Belgium).
2007 – 2011: PI: Dutch grant ZonMW nr. 94-50-771-5: “The cost-effectiveness of multidisciplinary management of Tinnitus at a specialized Tinnitus Centre” (450.000,- €).
2007 – 2011: PI: Dutch innovational VICI nr. 016.055.615 “Mood, stop-rules and task performance in chronic pain” (1.250.000,- €). Granted by NWO Social Sciences Res Council, Netherlands.
2001 – 2005: PI: Grant nr. 940-31-071 “Pain-related fear and attentional processes in the development of chronic disability in neck pain after a motor vehicle accident” (118.000,- €). Granted by The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development ZonMW.
2001 – 2005: PI: Grant nr. 96-06-006,28 “Back-X: Exposure in vivo for back pain” (159.000,- €). Granted by The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development ZonMW.
Most recent publications:
Traxler, J., Madden, V. J., Moseley, G. L., & Vlaeyen, J. W. S. (2019). Modulating pain thresholds through classical conditioning. PEERJ, 7, [e6486]. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.6486
Gatzounis, R., Crombez, G., Schrooten, M. G. S., & Vlaeyen, J. W. S. (2019). A break from pain! Interruption management in the context of pain. Pain Management, 9(1), 81-91. https://doi.org/10.2217/pmt-2018-0038
Treede, R-D., Rief, W., Barke, A., Aziz, Q., Bennett, M. I., Benoliel, R., ... Wang, S-J. (2019). Chronic pain as a symptom or a disease: the IASP Classification of Chronic Pain for the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Pain, 160(1), 19-27. https://doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001384
Classification Committee of the Neuropathic Pain Special Interest Group (NeuPSIG), Scholz, J., Finnerup, N. B., Attal, N., Aziz, Q., Baron, R., ... Treede, R-D. (2019). The IASP classification of chronic pain for ICD-11: chronic neuropathic pain. Pain, 160(1), 53-59. https://doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001365
IASP Taskforce for the Classification of Chronic Pain, Nicholas, M., Vlaeyen, J. W. S., Rief, W., Barke, A., Aziz, Q., ... Treede, R-D. (2019). The IASP classification of chronic pain for ICD-11: chronic primary pain. Pain, 160(1), 28-37. https://doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001390
Vlaeyen, J. W. S., Maher, C. G., Wiech, K., Van Zundert, J., Meloto, C. B., Diatchenko, L., ... Linton, S. J. (2018). Low back pain. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 4, . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41572-018-0052-1
Zaman, J., Wiech, K., Claes, N., Van Oudenhove, L., Van Diest, I., & Vlaeyen, J. W. S. (2018). The influence of pain-related expectations on intensity perception of non-painful somatosensory stimuli. Psychosomatic Medicine, 80(9), 836–844. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000586
van Vliet, C. M., Meulders, A., Vancleef, L. M. G., & Vlaeyen, J. W. S. (2018). The opportunity to avoid pain may paradoxically increase fear. The Journal of Pain, 19(10), 1222-1230. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2018.05.003
Schrooten, M. G. S., Van Damme, S., Crombez, G., Kindermans, H., & Vlaeyen, J. W. S. (2018). Winning or not losing? The impact of non-pain goat focus on attentional bias to learned pain signals: The impact of non-pain goal focus on attentional bias to learned pain signals. SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF PAIN, 18(4), 675-686. https://doi.org/10.1515/sjpain-2018-0055
Karos, K., de C Williams, A. C., Meulders, A., & Vlaeyen, J. W. S. (2018). Pain as a threat to the social self: a motivational account. Pain, 159(9), 1690-1695. https://doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001257