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Personality characteristics of women with fibromyalgia and of women with chronic neck, shoulder, or low back complaints in terms of Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and defense mechanism technique modified
Linköping University, Department of Department of Health and Society, Division of Preventive and Social Medicine and Public Health Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Neuroscience and Locomotion, Rehabilitation Medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Department of Psychology, Lund University, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Preventive and Social Medicine and Public Health Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6049-5402
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2002 (English)In: Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain, ISSN 1058-2452, E-ISSN 1540-7012, Vol. 10, no 3, 33-55 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives: To compare personality features of fibro-myalgia patients with those of a disease control group with regional pain.

Methods: A group of 33 women with fibromyalgia [FMS-group] was compared on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory [MMPI] and the Defense Mechanism Technique modified [DMTm] with 31 women [C-group] without this diagnosis who had localized chronic pain in their neck, shoulder, and/or low back areas and were very similar in chronological age, intelligence, and basic personality patterns.

Results: As hypothesized the FMS-group scored higher than the C-group on the MMPI-scales of Hypochondriasis, Depression, and Hysteria. They also scored higher on Admission of symptoms, Psych-asthenia, Anxiety, Schizophrenia, Social introversion, and a number of nonclinical subscales. The differences were not found to be due to differences in pain intensity. The only statistically significant difference in DMTm between the groups was that of FMS patients more often reporting the projected self to be positive and/or to be afraid, suggesting them to be more vulnerable than the comparison group to threatening experiences. Significant relationships between the disability level and the number of tender points, group membership, pain intensity, and various of the MMPI scales were found.

Conclusions: There were no signs on the MMPI of serious psychological disturbances in either group, and at the “deeper” psychological level, assessed in DMTm, there were no marked differences between the two groups, a proneness to somaticize psychological pain being found in both groups. Both the MMPI and the DMTm results were interpreted as suggesting that a cognitive coping strategy program be considered for rehabilitation. The fact that both different symptoms and signs had importance when regressing disability might indicate that univariate approaches is not sufficient when investigating factors of importance for disability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 10, no 3, 33-55 p.
Keyword [en]
Defense Mechanism Technique modified, Disability, Fibromyalgia, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Pain
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-46803DOI: 10.1300/J094v10n03_03OAI: diva2:267699
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2013-09-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Signs, symptoms, and disability related to the musculo-skeletal system: studies of home care personnel and patients with fibromyalgia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Signs, symptoms, and disability related to the musculo-skeletal system: studies of home care personnel and patients with fibromyalgia
2002 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Low back pain (LBP) and neck/shoulder pain are the major reasons for sickness absence and disability pensions in Sweden. The working situation of home care personnel in Sweden frequently requires heavy lifting and forward bending and workers report high prevalences of work-related musculo-skeletal pain and high frequencies of work accidents, especially lower back injuries. Most back pain patients are treated with non-surgical methods such as physical therapy, which includes manipulation, training of posture and co-ordination, lifting techniques, etc. There is limited scientific evidence with respect to clinical signs used in physical medicine. The clinical relevance of these signs with respect to symptoms and disability is unclear.

In Nyköping, Sweden, 607 home care personnel women were examined regarding pain prevalence and intensity in 9 body regions, other common symptoms, and disability. A clinical examination (conducted by 3 physiotherapists) investigated the following conditions: posture and sagittal spinal mobility (using kyphometer); joint laxity (Beighton score); segmental mobility and segmental pain from T10 down to L5-S1; and tender point (TP) palpation on 60 sites including the 18 ACR-criteria spots. In addition, a reliability study of 150 subjects was performed by two of the physiotherapists.

The 7-day prevalence of LBP was 48%. The reliability of manually investigated segmental mobility and pain was good, especially in L4-S 1 (kappa ≈o. 7). There was a positive correlation between segmental and total sagittal mobility (kyphometry) indicating criterion validity of the former. Sagittal hypomobility, segmental pain, hyper- and hypomobility, and tender point score correlated positively to pain intensity and many disability parameters. Neck-shoulder pain was more often combined with pain in other body regions and more strongly correlated to tender point score. The prevalence of fibromyalgia (FS) was 2%. There are many causes of FS. Central sensitisation is very likely essential and psychological factors and stress are discussed.

The personality profile of 33 female FS patients (FS-group) and 31 female controls (C-group) with local but not widespread pain was investigated, using MMPI and the Defence Mechanism Technique modified (DMTm). We found no sigos of serious personality abermtions in either group. A higher vulnerability for threatening experiences was found in the FS-group. Both symptoms and TP-score correlated positively to disability in both groups. The results of MMPI and DMTm indicate that cognitive coping strategies are suitable for FS patients. Because symptoms and sigos correlated to disability, the overall conclusion was that a multidisciplinary approach is appropriate in future investigations of pain problems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2002. 69 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 718
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-28057 (URN)12820 (Local ID)91-7373-160-9 (ISBN)12820 (Archive number)12820 (OAI)
Public defence
2002-03-01, Administrationsbyggnadens aula, Universitetssjukhuset, Linköping, 09:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-08 Created: 2009-10-08 Last updated: 2012-09-17Bibliographically approved

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Lundberg, GunnarTimpka, ToomasGerdle, Björn
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Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain
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