- 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:
Riecke, J., Rief, W., Vlaeyen, J. W. S., & Glombiewski, J. A. (2020). Generalizability of harm and pain expectations after exposure in chronic low back pain patients. European Journal of Pain. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.1604
Vlaeyen, J. W. S., Wicksell, R. K., Simons, L. E., Gentili, C., De, T. K., Tate, R. L., Vohra, S., Punja, S., Linton, S. J., Sniehotta, F. F., & Onghena, P. (2020). From Boulder to Stockholm in 70 Years: Single Case Experimental Designs in Clinical Research. Psychological Record. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-020-00402-5
Alaiti, R. K., Zuccolo, P. F., Leite Hunziker, M. H., Caneiro, J. P., Vlaeyen, J. W. S., & Fernandes da Costa, M. (2020). Pain can be conditioned to voluntary movements through associative learning: an experimental study in healthy participants. Pain. https://doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001919
Flink, I. K., Reme, S., Jacobsen, H. B., Glombiewski, J., Vlaeyen, J. W. S., Nicholas, M. K., Main, C. J., Peters, M., Williams, A. C. D. C., Schrooten, M. G. S., Shaw, W., & Boersma, K. (2020). Pain psychology in the 21st century: lessons learned and moving forward. SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF PAIN, 20(2), 229-238. https://doi.org/10.1515/sjpain-2019-0180
Torta, D. M., De Laurentis, M., Eichin, K. N., von Leupoldt, A., van den Broeke, E. N., & Vlaeyen, J. W. S. (2020). A highly cognitive demanding working memory task may prevent the development of nociceptive hypersensitivity. Pain. https://doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001841
Jafari, H., Gholamrezaei, A., Franssen, M., Van Oudenhove, L., Aziz, Q., Van den Bergh, O., Vlaeyen, J. W. S., & Van Diest, I. (2020). Can slow deep breathing reduce pain? An experimental study exploring mechanisms. The Journal of Pain. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2019.12.010
den Hollander, M., de Jong, J., Onghena, P., & Vlaeyen, J. W. S. (2020). Generalization of exposure in vivo in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome type I. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 124, . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2019.103511
Simons, L. E., Harrison, L. E., O'Brien, S. F., Heirich, M. S., Loecher, N., Boothroyd, D. B., Vlaeyen, J. W. S., Wicksell, R. K., Schofield, D., Hood, K. K., Orendurff, M., Chan, S., & Lyons, S. (2019). Graded exposure treatment for adolescents with chronic pain (GET Living): Protocol for a randomized controlled trial enhanced with single case experimental design. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, 16, . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conctc.2019.100448
Courtois, I., Gholamrezaei, A., Jafari, H., Lautenbacher, S., Van Diest, I., Van Oudenhove, L., & Vlaeyen, J. W. S. (2019). Respiratory hypoalgesia? The effect of slow deep breathing on electrocutaneous, thermal, and mechanical pain. The Journal of Pain. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2019.10.002
Treede, R-D., Rief, W., Korwisi, B., Perrot, S., Cohen, M., Nicholas, M., Vlaeyen, J. W. S., & Barke, A. (2019). Fibromyalgia as a chronic primary pain syndrome: issues to discuss Reply. Pain, 160(11), 2652-2653. https://doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001687