Self-criticism interacts with the affective component of pain to predict depressive symptoms in female patients

Eur J Pain. 2012 Jan;16(1):115-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2011.05.007.


This longitudinal study examined the role of the trait of self-criticism as a moderator of the relationship between the affective and sensory components of pain, and depression. One hundred and sixty-three chronic pain patients treated at a specialty pain clinic completed self-report questionnaires at two time points assessing affective and sensory components of pain, depression, and self-criticism. Hierarchical linear regression analysis revealed a significant 3-way interaction between self-criticism, affective pain and gender, whereby women with high affective pain and high self-criticism demonstrated elevated levels of depression. Our findings are the first to show within a broad, comprehensive model, that selfcriticism is activated by the affective, but not sensory component of pain in leading to depressive symptoms, and highlight the need to assess patients' personality as part of an effective treatment plan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Pain / complications*
  • Chronic Pain / psychology*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Ego*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Personality
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Young Adult