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Disposition and Adjustment to Chronic Pain


Several empirical studies have shown that personal characteristics act as differential variables, which determine how pain is experienced and how the chronic pain patient adjusts to pain. The main aim of the present research is to review the relationships between some dispositional characteristics and pain adjustment. Taking into account the empirical literature, 6 personality traits that are relevant to the pain experience have been selected: neuroticism, anxiety sensitivity, and experiential avoidance as risk factors that increase the probability of patients experiencing a disability; and extraversion, optimism, and resilience as personal resources that increase their capacity to manage pain effectively. The results suggest that it would be useful to include an assessment of normal personality structure during the multi-dimensional evaluation of a person with chronic pain. Understanding these individual personality characteristics will aid in designing pain intervention programs and help predict possible treatment outcomes.

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Correspondence to Carmen Ramírez-Maestre.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Psychiatric Management of Pain

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Ramírez-Maestre, C., Esteve, R. Disposition and Adjustment to Chronic Pain. Curr Pain Headache Rep 17, 312 (2013).

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  • Personality
  • Extraversion
  • Neuroticism
  • Optimism
  • Resilience
  • Anxiety Sensitivity
  • Experiential avoidance
  • Chronic pain
  • Adjustment