New evidence for a pain personality? A critical review of the last 120 years of pain and personality

New evidence for a pain personality? A critical review of the last 120 years of pain and personality AbstractBackgroundPersonality traits may influence development and adjustment to ongoing pain. Over the past 120 years, there has been considerable research into the relationship between pain and personality. This paper presents new evidence for common personality traits found amongst chronic pain sufferers. In particular, it evaluates evidence for Cloninger’s biopsychosocial model of personality in distinguishing typical personality features of chronic pain sufferers. It evaluates this evidence in the context of the past 120 years of research including psychodynamic formulations, MMPI studies, personality disorder investigations, and the influence of neuroticism on chronic pain.MethodsA literature search was conducted using PubMed, Medline, PsyclNFO, SCOPUS and Cochrane library. Search terms included chronic pain, pain, personality, neuroticism, harm avoidance, self-directedness, attachment, Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI-R), MMPI, MMPI-2, NEO-PI, EPI, Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory, Millon Behavioral Health Inventory, Millon Behavioral Medicine Diagnostic, the Personality Assessment Inventory, the Locus of Control Construct and different combinations of these terms.ConclusionsRecent descriptive studies using Cloninger’s Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI-R) suggest that higher harm avoidance and lower self-directedness may be the most distinguishing personality features of chronic pain sufferers. High harm avoidance refers to a tendency to be fearful, pessimistic, sensitive to criticism, and requiring high levels of re-assurance. Low self-directedness often manifests as difficulty with defining and setting meaningful goals, low motivation, and problems with adaptive coping. Evidence for this personality profile is found across a wide variety of chronic pain conditions including fibromyalgia, headache and migraine, temporomandibular disorder, trigeminal neuropathy, musculo-skeletal disorders and heterogeneous pain groups. Limitations are also discussed. For example, high harm avoidance is also found in those suffering anxiety and depression. While many studies control for such factors, some do not and thus future research should address such confounds carefully. The evidence is also evaluated within the context of past research into the existence of ‘a pain personality’. Psychodynamic formulations are found to be deficient in objective scientific methods. MMPI studies lack sufficient evidence to support ‘a pain personality’ and may be confounded by somatic items in the instrument. More recent neuroticism studies suggest a relationship between neuroticism and pain, particularly for adjustment to chronic pain. Personality disorders are more prevalent in chronic pain populations than non-pain samples.Clinical implicationsBecause harm avoidance reflects a tendency to developed conditioned fear responses, we suggest that higher harm avoidance may create more vulnerability to developing a fear-avoidance response to chronic pain. Furthermore, lower self-directedness may contribute to keeping a sufferer within this vicious cycle of fear, avoidance and suffering. Moreover, we suggest that harm avoidance and self-directedness are broader and more complex constructs than current clinical targets of CBT such as fear-avoidance and self-efficacy. Thus, assessing such personality traits may help to address the complexity of chronic pain presentations. For example, it may help to identify and treat sufferers more resistant to treatment, more prone to comorbidity and more vulnerable to entering the vicious cycle of chronic pain, suffering and disability. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Scandinavian Journal of Pain de Gruyter

New evidence for a pain personality? A critical review of the last 120 years of pain and personality

Loading next page...
 
/lp/degruyter/new-evidence-for-a-pain-personality-a-critical-review-of-the-last-120-o2d027KmWq
Publisher
De Gruyter
Copyright
© 2017 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain
ISSN
1877-8860
eISSN
1877-8879
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.sjpain.2017.07.011
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractBackgroundPersonality traits may influence development and adjustment to ongoing pain. Over the past 120 years, there has been considerable research into the relationship between pain and personality. This paper presents new evidence for common personality traits found amongst chronic pain sufferers. In particular, it evaluates evidence for Cloninger’s biopsychosocial model of personality in distinguishing typical personality features of chronic pain sufferers. It evaluates this evidence in the context of the past 120 years of research including psychodynamic formulations, MMPI studies, personality disorder investigations, and the influence of neuroticism on chronic pain.MethodsA literature search was conducted using PubMed, Medline, PsyclNFO, SCOPUS and Cochrane library. Search terms included chronic pain, pain, personality, neuroticism, harm avoidance, self-directedness, attachment, Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI-R), MMPI, MMPI-2, NEO-PI, EPI, Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory, Millon Behavioral Health Inventory, Millon Behavioral Medicine Diagnostic, the Personality Assessment Inventory, the Locus of Control Construct and different combinations of these terms.ConclusionsRecent descriptive studies using Cloninger’s Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI-R) suggest that higher harm avoidance and lower self-directedness may be the most distinguishing personality features of chronic pain sufferers. High harm avoidance refers to a tendency to be fearful, pessimistic, sensitive to criticism, and requiring high levels of re-assurance. Low self-directedness often manifests as difficulty with defining and setting meaningful goals, low motivation, and problems with adaptive coping. Evidence for this personality profile is found across a wide variety of chronic pain conditions including fibromyalgia, headache and migraine, temporomandibular disorder, trigeminal neuropathy, musculo-skeletal disorders and heterogeneous pain groups. Limitations are also discussed. For example, high harm avoidance is also found in those suffering anxiety and depression. While many studies control for such factors, some do not and thus future research should address such confounds carefully. The evidence is also evaluated within the context of past research into the existence of ‘a pain personality’. Psychodynamic formulations are found to be deficient in objective scientific methods. MMPI studies lack sufficient evidence to support ‘a pain personality’ and may be confounded by somatic items in the instrument. More recent neuroticism studies suggest a relationship between neuroticism and pain, particularly for adjustment to chronic pain. Personality disorders are more prevalent in chronic pain populations than non-pain samples.Clinical implicationsBecause harm avoidance reflects a tendency to developed conditioned fear responses, we suggest that higher harm avoidance may create more vulnerability to developing a fear-avoidance response to chronic pain. Furthermore, lower self-directedness may contribute to keeping a sufferer within this vicious cycle of fear, avoidance and suffering. Moreover, we suggest that harm avoidance and self-directedness are broader and more complex constructs than current clinical targets of CBT such as fear-avoidance and self-efficacy. Thus, assessing such personality traits may help to address the complexity of chronic pain presentations. For example, it may help to identify and treat sufferers more resistant to treatment, more prone to comorbidity and more vulnerable to entering the vicious cycle of chronic pain, suffering and disability.

Journal

Scandinavian Journal of Painde Gruyter

Published: Oct 1, 2017

There are no references for this article.

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off