More insight on the role of personality traits and sensitivity to experimental pain

Hadas Grouper, Elon Eisenberg, Dorit Pud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The present study aimed to assess the influence of personality traits on the variability of sensitivity to pain in two distinct groups of healthy subjects with low versus high sensitivity to pain (LSP vs HSP, respectively). Methods: Healthy subjects (n=156) were allocated to two groups according to their tolerability to cold stimulation (cold pressor test, CPT, 1°C). Group LSP (n=76) reached the cutoff time of 180±0 sec, and a size matched group of HSP (n=80) tolerated the CPT for an average of 10.5±3.4 sec only. Subjects from both groups completed the self-reported pain sensitivity questionnaire (PSQ), the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS), and the Neuroticism Extraversion Openness-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Results: In comparison to the LSP group, HSP individuals had higher scores of PSQ (p<0.001), catastrophizing (p=0.001), and extraversion (p=0.01). By adjusting for age and gender, mediation analyses revealed that catastrophizing mediated the relationship between neuroticism and pain sensitivity, both in the allocation of subjects to a certain group of sensitivity to pain (LSP or HSP, B=0.02 95% CI: 0.006–0.040) and in the PSQ score (B=0.01 95% CI: 0.001–0.023). Conclusion: These results, which were demonstrated by two different prisms (CPT and PSQ), point to the potential of the five-factor inventory and pain catastrophizing scale as tools for identifying specific personality traits associated with a high sensitivity to pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1837-1844
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pain Research
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Grouper et al.


  • FFM
  • PSQ
  • Pain catastrophizing
  • Personality traits
  • Sensitivity to pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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