The Relationship Between Personality Characteristics and Acute Pain Response in Postadolescent Males

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
David H. Perrin, Former Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: The purpose of this investigation was to determine the relationship between personality characteristics, as measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) (form G), and an acute pain response in 107 postadolescent men. Subjects included 107 military school cadets. Each subject performed a cold pressor test (CPT) and was evaluated for pain threshold and pain tolerance times. Each was then evaluated for preference on eight personality characteristics: extraversion, introversion, sensing, intuition, thinking, feeling, judging, and perception. The personality characteristics were measured by the MBTI (form G). Pearson product-moment correlations between the pain threshold and tolerance times and the eight personality characteristic scores were nonsignificant. The results indicated there was no relationship between the eight personality characteristics, as measured by the MBTI (form G), and pain threshold or pain tolerance, as measured by the CPT. The findings also indicated a low correlation between pain threshold and pain tolerance (r=.25). The sensation of pain is basic to all people. It acts as a warning system and alerts a living organism of danger or threat to homeostasis. Monks and Taenzer (14) state than an individual's pain perception is associated with "interrelated biological, psychological, and social factors" (p. 233). Health care professionals are aware of individual differences among the patients they encounter with respect to personality and response to pain. However, these differences are rarely considered when planning treatment protocols. The aspect of personality type and its relation to pain response is an area that has been examined in the past. The literature indicates that personality influences pain response (1, 10, 13, 19). with a focus on extraversion and neuroticism (4, 8, 11, 20). It has been hypothesized that a subject's pain tolerance should be positively related to extraversion and negatively related to neuroticism (5, N. Eysenck (5, 6) postulated that extraverts develop inhibition/satiation more quickly and dissipate it more slowly. As such, prolonged pain sensations should be inhibited more quickly and more strongly in extraverts, leading to diminished pain sensation, Beecher (2) stated that physiological pain is always associated with the apprehension of future pain, which can be conceived as an anxiety response that summates with the physiological pain response, It was further suggested that extraverts condition less well. Therefore they would not develop the component of total pain to the same degree that introverts would. Several investigators have tested the relationship between pain and personality and have reported conflicting findings. Lynn and Eysenck (11) used the Maudsley Personality Inventory (MPI) as a measure of personality, and radiant heat as an acute pain inducer. They reported positive correlations for extraversion and pain tolerance , 0.69 (<0.01). Levine et al. (8) investigated the affinity between pain tolerance and extraversion (E) and neuroticism (N) in two subject groups. The groups were given a battery of personality profiles, including the MPI, and were interviewed on their attitudes toward pain. The pain was induced and measured through electrical stimulation. Two sets of Pearsonian correlations were computed and the correlations reported were not significant (0,07 for E, —0,20 for N) and (-0.10 for E, 0.02 for N). In an attempt to explicate the conflicting findings, Davidson and McDougall (4) varied the means of pain stimulation, utilizing radiant heat and a cold pressor test, The pain tolerance times were correlated with personality scores from the MPI, The results showed no significant correlation between personality scores and pain tolerance (0,09 and 0.09). Schalling (18) used noxious electrical stimulation and the Marke-Nyman Temperament Inventory (M-NTI). This study reported a statistically significant negative correlation between solidarity (introvert) and pain (-0,61 for C and —0,79 for DS) (<0.01), Low solidarity (extravert) showed a higher pain tolerance, —0.64 (<0.01). In an effort to qualify the differences in pain perception between introverts and extraverts, Shiomi (20) investigated responses in subjects utilizing the cold pressor test and the MN, The statistical analysis reported that significant positive, moderate correlations (0.55 and .048) were obtained between pain tolerance and extraversion, as scored on the MN. Ashton et al. (1) investigated the effects of the preinduced pain and personality type, Pain was induced by the cold pressor test, and personality type by means of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ), However, no significant correlation was reported. The conflicting findings in the literature demonstrate a need for additional research in the area of personality and response to pain. The reviewed studies used a number of personality inventories and a number of different pain stimuli. However, none of these studies employed the MBTI (form G) in conjunction with the CPT. As such, the purpose of this investigation was to determine the efficacy of the MBTI (form G) and the CPT in determining the relationship between personality characteristics and response to acute pain.

Additional Information

Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 1, 111-120
Language: English
Date: 1992
Personality characteristics, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Acute pain response

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