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Defensive high-anxious individuals with chronic back pain demonstrate different treatment choices and patient persistence

Franklin, ZC and Smith, NC and Fowler, NE (2014) Defensive high-anxious individuals with chronic back pain demonstrate different treatment choices and patient persistence. PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, 64. ISSN 0191-8869

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to determine whether the experience of, and response to chronic back pain was different for defensive high-anxious individuals than other personality types (defensive high-anxious, high-anxious, repressor and low-anxious). Participants (n = 111) were recruited from a heterogeneous sample of individuals who had reported back pain within the last 6 months. Self-report measures of trait anxiety and defensiveness were used to determine personality type. In addition, pain, treatment history, disability, depression and satisfaction with treatment were recorded. Despite reporting similar levels of pain to other personality groups, defensive high-anxious individuals reported significantly greater disability and depression (p < 0.01). Of the defensive high-anxious individuals, 92% sought more than one intervention. In comparison, repressors predominantly self-managed their pain with only 10% utilising more than one intervention. Surprisingly, there were no differences in treatment satisfaction between the four groups. The present study suggests that personality type is an important factor influencing patients’ treatment options, with defensive high anxious individuals substantially more likely to seek multiple interventions and remain within the care system. The present study provides a basis for future research into the role of personality type in the management of chronic pain.

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