Journal Title:  Annals of Clinical Psychiatry | Vol:  17 | Issue:  2 | Year:  2005   
Print ISSN:  1040-1237 | Online ISSN:  1547-3325   

Personality Traits Related to Chronic Pain Location

Robert J. Gregory MD
John Manring MD
Michael J. Wade MS

pages: 59 - 64
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Background. Previous research has yielded inconsistent findings on the relationship between personality characteristics and chronic pain. The present study examines measures of alexithymia, somatosensory amplification, attachment, counterdependency, and emotional distress in 140 consecutive general medical outpatients seen in psychiatric consultation.

Methods. Forty-five subjects having no chronic pain (NP) were compared to 49 subjects with chronic pain restricted to their back and/or extremities (BE) and with 46 subjects having pain involving other regions of the body (OP).

Results. Findings demonstrated marked counterdependency traits in the BE group relative to the other two groups. By contrast, traits of alexithymia and somatosensory amplification, insecure attachment, and a high level of emotional distress characterized the OP group. A multiple logistic regression model combining counterdependency and secure attachment was 86% accurate in predicting BE (c=0.86).

Conclusions. The study’s findings suggest that personality traits vary according to chronic pain location, although the nature of the relationship still needs to be determined.