The relationship between the fear-avoidance model of pain and personality traits in fibromyalgia patients

J Clin Psychol Med Settings. 2011 Dec;18(4):380-91. doi: 10.1007/s10880-011-9263-2.


This study examined the relationship between several cognitive-affective factors of the fear-avoidance model of pain, the big five model of personality, and functional impairment in fibromyalgia (FM). Seventy-four FM patients completed the NEO Five-Factor Inventory, the Pain Catastrophizing Scale, the Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale-20, the Pain Vigilance and Awareness Questionnaire, and the Impairment and Functioning Inventory. Results indicated that the cognitive-affective factors of pain are differentially associated with personality traits. Neuroticism and conscientiousness were significant predictors of pain catastrophizing, and neuroticism, openness, and agreeableness were significant predictors of pain anxiety. Personality traits did not contribute significantly to vigilance to pain. The effect of neuroticism upon pain anxiety was mediated by pain catastrophizing, and neuroticism showed a trend to moderate the relationship between impairment and pain anxiety. Results support the fear-avoidance model of pain. Implications of the findings for the understanding and management of FM are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attitude to Health
  • Avoidance Learning*
  • Catastrophization / complications
  • Catastrophization / psychology
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / complications
  • Fibromyalgia / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Neurotic Disorders / complications
  • Neurotic Disorders / psychology
  • Pain / complications
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain Measurement / psychology
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Personality*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult