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Pain. 1992 Oct;51(1):67-73.

A canonical correlation analysis of the influence of neuroticism and extraversion on chronic pain, suffering, and pain behavior.

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Department of Psychiatry, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond 23298.


The relationship between neuroticism and extraversion on the 4 major stages of pain processing, that of pain sensation intensity, pain unpleasantness, suffering, and pain behavior, were studied in 205 chronic pain patients (88 male and 117 female). Patients underwent psychological evaluation which included the Pain Experience visual analogue scales (VAS) (Price et al. 1983), NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI) (Costa and McCrae 1985), and the Psychosocial Pain Inventory (PPI) (Getto and Heaton 1980). Canonical correlation was used to control for pain sensation intensity in evaluating affective dimensions of pain and to control for neuroticism in assessing effects of extraversion on different stages and dimensions of pain. Neither neuroticism nor extraversion were related to pain sensation intensity. Only neuroticism was associated with pain unpleasantness. Personality factors had their greatest impact on stages 3 (suffering) and 4 (illness behavior) of pain processing. The results of multiple regression analyses indicated that life-long vulnerability to anxiety and depression is paramount in understanding the relationship between personality and suffering in chronic pain. These findings provide support for the idea that personality traits influence the ways in which people cognitively process the meanings that chronic pain holds for their life, and hence the extent to which they suffer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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