How to pick a 'pain personality'

Australian researchers say they have identified new evidence of a "pain personality" following a review of 120 years of research.

The review published in the Scandinavian Journal of Pain identified two common personality traits in people living with chronic pain; higher levels of harm-avoidance and lower levels of self-directedness.

High harm avoidance refers to a tendency to be fearful, pessimistic, sensitive to criticism and requiring high levels of reassurance.

Low self-directedness often manifests as difficulty with defining and setting meaningful goals, low motivation, and problems with adaptive coping.

"Assessing such personality traits may help to address the complexity of chronic pain presentations,” the authors write.

“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.”

However, it's still not known whether people develop chronic pain because they have a certain personality or the personality is changed because of the chronic pain, says senior neuroscientist Dr Sylvia Gustin at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA).

But, she says, there is more evidence to support the later. - AAP

You can access the study here.