Personality traits associated with perception of noxious stimuli in women with vulvar vestibulitis syndrome

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Vulvar vestibulitis syndrome (VVS) is associated with enhanced pain sensitivity. The present study explores the role of personality on the perception of noxious stimuli among women with VVS. More specifically, the aim of the study was to explore whether the personality traits assessed by Cloninger's Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ) (harm avoidance [HA], novelty seeking [NS], and reward dependence [RD]) are associated with the augmented pain perception in women with VVS. Quantitative sensory tests were applied to the forearm of 98 women with VVS and 135 control subjects, all of whom completed the TPQ. The women with VVS scored higher than the control subjects on HA and RD with no significant differences in NS. Linear regression analyses revealed that in the VVS group, lower pain thresholds and higher magnitude estimations of suprathreshold pain stimuli were associated with higher HA and RD scores. The enhanced pain perception among women with VVS might reflect their tendency to respond intensely to signals of reward and to elevate the perceived risk. This might lead them to avoid hazards by overestimating the level of potential harm, as represented by greater pain sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-173
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pain
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Experimental pain
  • Heat pain
  • Tridimensional personality theory
  • Vulvar vestibulitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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