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Neuroticism and pain catastrophizing aggravate response to pain in healthy adults: an experimental study

  • Banozic, Adriana (Laboratory for Pain Research, University of Split, School of Medicine) ;
  • Miljkovic, Ana (Department of Public Health, University of Split School of Medicine) ;
  • Bras, Marijana (Centre for Palliative Medicine, Medical Ethics and Communication Skills (CEPAMET), School of Medicine, University of Zagreb) ;
  • Puljak, Livia (Laboratory for Pain Research, University of Split, School of Medicine) ;
  • Kolcic, Ivana (Department of Public Health, University of Split School of Medicine) ;
  • Hayward, Caroline (Institute for Genomics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh) ;
  • Polasek, Ozren (Department of Public Health, University of Split School of Medicine)
  • Received : 2017.07.25
  • Accepted : 2017.11.15
  • Published : 2018.01.01

Abstract

Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the association between neuroticism, pain catastrophizing, and experimentally induced pain threshold and pain tolerance in a healthy adult sample from two regions of the country of Croatia: the island of Korcula and city of Split. Methods: A total of 1,322 participants were enrolled from the Island of Korcula (n = 824) and the city of Split (n = 498). Participants completed a self-reported personality measure Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) and pain catastrophizing questionnaire Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS), followed by a mechanical pain pressure threshold and tolerance test. We have explored the mediating role of catastrophizing in the relationship between neuroticism and pain intensity. Results: The results showed that pain catastrophizing partially mediated the relationship between neuroticism and pain intensity, suggesting the importance of pain catastrophizing in increasing vulnerability to pain. The results also indicated gender-related differences, marked by the higher pain threshold and tolerance in men. Conclusions: This study adds to the understanding of the complex interplay between personality and pain, by providing a better understanding of such mechanisms in healthy adults.

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