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Aust Dent J. 2005 Mar;50(1):21-30.

Chronic orofacial pain is associated with psychological morbidity and negative personality changes: a comparison to the general population.

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Pain Management and Research Centre, The University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital, St. Leonards, New South Wales.



Chronic orofacial pain is a biopsychosocial problem. Pain description and intensity have been previously reported by the authors. This follow up study reports on the presence and severity of psychological morbidity presence and alseverity changes associated with chronic and personality changes associated with chronic orofacial pain.


A total of 415 questionnaires for psychological morbidity (238 chronic orofacial pain patients and 175 controls) and 205 responses for personality changes (105 pain patients and 100 controls) were analyzed. Demographic and status, level of education include and current work status. status, level of education and current work status. Psychological variables tested were depression, anger, fear, distress, frustration and anxiety. Pain patients indicated descriptors of their personalities 'pre-pain' and 'with pain'.


The chronic pain group reported higher levels of 'feeling sad or miserable' p < 0.001 'feeling frustrated' p = 0.001 and 'feeling anxious, worried' p = 0.022 than the control group. Within the chronic pain group, patients unemployed due to pain or other reasons reported higher levels of 'feeling sad or miserable' and 'feeling frustrated' (p < 0.05) compared with patients engaged in full or part-time work. Negative personality changes due to pain were clearly evident with 'irritable' and 'sad' being frequently chosen words (p < 0.001).


Patients with chronic orofacial pain suffer from negative psychological and personality changes.

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