Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 401–411 | Cite as

Quality of Life, Personality and Use of Pain Medication in Patients with Chronic Back Pain

  • Selma Cvijetic
  • Jasminka Bobic
  • Simeon Grazio
  • Melita Uremovic
  • Tomislav Nemcic
  • Ladislav Krapac


The aim of the study was to assess whether the functional disability and the quality of life in patients with chronic back pain was associated with some personality traits and whether the use of pain medication in patients with chronic back pain can be predisposed with some personality traits. The study sample comprised 262 older patients with chronic back pain of non-inflammatory origin. The level of disability related to chronic back pain was assessed by Roland-Morris Questionnaire, health-related quality of life was assessed by Short Form 36 and personality traits by Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. Among analyzed personality traits (psychoticism, extraversion, neuroticism, lie tendencies), only neuroticism significantly predicted self-reported disability caused by back pain. Patients on pain medication had significantly worse quality of life and disability caused by back pain, but they did not differ significantly in personality traits compared to patients without pain medication. There were no differences in disability due to back pain and in level of neuroticism between patients who had jobs with higher or lower physical demand. People with higher scores on neuroticism inclined more to report a lower functional disability and the quality of life caused by chronic back pain. Patients on pain medication reported more inferior physical than psychological concept of quality of life. Use of pain medication was not associated with personality traits assessed by Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. In our elderly patients with chronic back pain, lower quality of life was associated with elevated neuroticism score and more frequent use of pain medication.


Quality of life Personality Chronic back pain Pain medication Neuroticism 



The study was supported by the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport; project No: 022-0222411-2409


  1. BenDebba, M., Torgerson, W. S., & Long, D. M. (1997). Personality traits, pain duration and severity, functional impairment, and psychological distress in patients with persistent low back pain. Pain, 72(1–2), 115–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bonomi, A. E., Shikiar, R., & Legro, M. W. (2000). Quality-of-life assessment in acute, chronic, and cancer pain: a pharmacist’s guide. Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association, 40(3), 402–416.Google Scholar
  3. Bru, E., Mykletun, R. J., & Svebek, S. (1993). Neuroticism, extraversion, anxiety and type a behavior as mediators of neck, shoulder and low back pain in female hospital staff. Personality and Individual Differences, 15(5), 485–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chenot, J. F., Becker, A., Leonhardt, C., Keller, S., Donner-Banzhoff, N., Hildebrandt, J., et al. (2008). Sex differences in presentation, course, and management of low back pain in primary care. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 24(7), 578–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Croft, P., Lewis, M., Wynn Jones, C., Coggon, D., & Cooper, C. (2002). Health status in patients awaiting hip replacement for osteoarthritis. Rheumatology, 41(9), 1001–1007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Eysenck, H. J., & Eysenck, S. B. G. (1975). Manual of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. London: Hodder and Stoughton.Google Scholar
  7. Frankenburg, F. R., & Zanarini, M. C. (2004). The association between borderline personality disorder and chronic medical illnesses, poor health-related lifestyle choices, and costly forms of health care utilization. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 65(12), 1660–1665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Genevay, S., Cedraschi, C., Courvoisier, D. S., Perneger, T. V., Grandjean, R., Griesser, A. C., et al. (2011). Work related characteristics of back and neck pain among employees of a Swiss University Hospital. Joint, Bone, Spine, 78(4), 392–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hales, T. R., & Bernard, B. P. (1996). Epidemiology of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The Orthopedic Clinics of North America, 27(4), 679–709.Google Scholar
  10. Hall, A. M., Kamper, S. J., Maher, C. G., Latimer, J., Ferreira, M. L., & Nicholas, M. K. (2011). Symptoms of depression and stress mediate the effect of pain on disability. Pain, 152(5), 1044–1051.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hashemi, L., Webster, B. S., & Clancy, E. A. (1998). Trends in disability duration and cost of workers’ compensation low back pain claims (1988-1996). Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 40(12), 1110–1119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jones, A. K. P., McBeth, J., & Power, A. (2010). The biological response to stress and chronic pain. In P. Croft, F. M. Blyth, D. van der Windt (Eds.) Chronic pain epidemiology from aetiology to public health (pp. 101–119). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Juresa, V., Ivankovic, D., Vuletic, G., Babic-Banaszak, A., Srsek, I., Mastilica, M., et al. (2000). The croatian health survey – SF-36: I. General quality of life assessment. Collegium Antropologicum, 24(1), 69–78.Google Scholar
  14. Kendall, N. A. (1999). Psychosocial approaches to the prevention of chronic pain: the low back paradigm. Best Practice & Research. Clinical Rheumatology, 13(3), 545–554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lojk, L. (1978). Eysenckov upitnik ličnosti – EPQ, Priručnik, Zavod SR Slovenije za produktivnost dela, Ljubljana, (Manual of the eysenck personality questionnaire), with the permission of Eysenck, H. J., Eysenck S. B. G., Windsor, Great Britain. Hodder and Stoughton Educational.Google Scholar
  16. Main, C. J., & Waddell, G. (1987). Personality assessment in the management of low back pain. Clinical Rehabilitation, 1(2), 139–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Manek, N. J., & MacGregor, A. J. (2005). Epidemiology of back disorders: prevalence, risk factors and prognosis. Current Opinion in Rheumatology, 17(2), 134–140.Google Scholar
  18. MAPI. (2004). Croatian version of the Roland-Morris disability questionnaire.
  19. McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T., Jr. (1983). Social desirability scales: more substance than style. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 51(6), 882–888.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Radat, F., Irachabal, S., Swendsen, J., & Henry, P. (2002). Analgesic abuse and psychiatric comorbidity in headache patients. Encephale, 28(5), 466–471.Google Scholar
  21. Roland, M., & Morris, R. (1983). A study of the natural history of low back pain: part 1. Development of a reliable and sensitive measure of disability in low back pain. Spine, 8(2), 141–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Schiphorst Preupera, H. R., Renemana, M. F., Boonstrac, A. M., Dijkstraa, P. U., Versteegene, G. J., & Geertzen, J. H. B. (2007). The relationship between psychosocial distress and disability assessed by the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised and Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire in patients with chronic low back pain. The Spine Journal, 7(5), 525–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Seršić, D. M., & Vuletić, G. (2006). Psychometric evaluation and establishing norms of Croatian SF-36 Health Survey: framework for subjective health research. Croatian Medical Journal, 47(1), 95–102.Google Scholar
  24. Simmons, M. J., Kumar, S., & Lechelt, E. (1996). Psychological factors in disabling low back pain: causes or consequences? Disability and Rehabilitation, 18(4), 161–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sivan, M., Sell, B., & Sell, P. (2009). A comparison of functional assessment instruments and work status in chronic back pain. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 45(1), 31–36.Google Scholar
  26. Talamo, J., Frater, A., Gallivan, S., & Young, A. (1997). Use of the short form 36 (SF36) for health status measurement in rheumatoid arthritis. British Journal of Rheumatology, 36(4), 463–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tavallaii, A., Kargar, K. H., Farzanegan, G. H., Saeidi, S. Y., & Radfar, S. (2010). Personality characteristics of patients with chronic low back pain. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 5, 372–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tennen, H., Affleck, G., & Zautra, A. (2006). Depression history and coping with chronic pain: a daily process analysis. Health Psychology, 25(3), 370–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tsakogia, Z., Lyrakos, G. N., Damigos, D., Mayreas, V., & Dimoliatis, I. D. K. (2011). The effect of dispositional optimism in HRQOL in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions in Greece. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 6(1), 53–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tsang, A., Von Korff, M., Lee, S., Alonso, J., Karam, E., Angermeyer, M. C., et al. (2008). Common chronic pain conditions in developed and developing countries: gender and age differences and comorbidity with depression-anxiety disorders. The Journal of Pain, 9(10), 883–891.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Veresciagina, K., Ambrozaitis, K. V., & Spakauskas, B. (2007). Health-related quality-of-life assessment in patients with low back pain using SF-36 questionnaire. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania), 43(8), 607–613.Google Scholar
  32. Wang, J. Y., Cui, D. M., & Xing, H. Y. (2005). Personality and psychological characteristics of 147 aging people. Chinese Journal of Clinical Rehabilitation, 9, 118–119.Google Scholar
  33. Wang, B., Lu, H., Xu, M., Wang, L., & Qui, X. (2011). Management Standard: a survey and analysis of college students’ mental health and personality traits. Communications in Computer and Information Science, 209, 482–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ware, J. E., Jr., & Sherbourne, C. D. (1992). The MOS 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36). I. Conceptual framework and item selection. Medical Care, 30(6), 473–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ware, J. E., Kosinski, M., & Keller, S. K. (1994). SF-36® physical and mental health summary scales: a user’s manual. Boston: The Health Institute.Google Scholar
  36. Ware, J. E., Kosinski, M., Bayliss, M. S., McHorney, C. A., Rogers, W. H., & Raczek, A. (1995). Comparison of methods for the scoring and statistical analysis of SF-36 health profile and summary measures: summary of results from the Medical Outcomes Study. Medical Care, 33(4 Suppl), 264–AS279.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Selma Cvijetic
    • 1
  • Jasminka Bobic
    • 1
  • Simeon Grazio
    • 2
  • Melita Uremovic
    • 3
  • Tomislav Nemcic
    • 2
  • Ladislav Krapac
    • 4
  1. 1.Department for Environmental and Occupational HealthInstitute for Medical Research and Occupational HealthZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Department of Rheumatology, Physical and Rehabilitation MedicineUniversity Hospital “Sisters of Mercy”ZagrebCroatia
  3. 3.University of Applied Sciences “Lavoslav Ruzicka”VukovarCroatia
  4. 4.Polyclinic Velika GoricaZagrebCroatia

Personalised recommendations