Pain and Personality: Do Individuals with Different Forms of Chronic Pain Exhibit a Mutual Personality?

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▪ Abstract:The role of personality in the experience of chronic pain is a growing field, with endless debate regarding the existence of a “pain personality”. This study aims to compare different chronic pain types and consolidate the existence of a common personality. Thirty-two females with chronic orofacial pain and 37 age-matched healthy females were assessed with the Temperament and Character Inventory-Revised. Chronic pain subjects had either trigeminal neuropathy (neuropathic pain) or temporomandibular disorders (nociceptive pain). This study revealed that individuals with different chronic pain types exhibit a mutual personality profile encompassing significantly higher scores in Harm Avoidance and significantly lower scores in Self-Directedness when compared to healthy subjects. In fact, this combination is associated with Cluster C personality disorders. In conclusion, our study reveals that irrespective of type, chronic pain may be associated with Cluster C personality disorders. Indeed, there has never been empirical evidence in the past to suggest that chronic pain as an overall concept is associated with any particular personality disorders. Therefore, a potential future avenue of chronic pain treatment may lie in targeting particular personality aspects and shift the target of pain-relieving treatments from sensory and psychologically state focused to psychologically trait focused.

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