Do certain personality disorders predispose patients to chronic pain?
While chronic pain strikes patients of all personality types, patients meeting criteria for Cluster C personality disorders are especially at risk. These patients tend to be high in harm avoidance and lower in self-directedness, which have been shown to be overrepresented in patients with chronic pain. These traits predispose a person to engaging in fear-avoidance behaviors, which have been implicated in the initiation of chronic pain-related disability. These patients tend to be highly anxious, which can also promote avoidance of negative experiences, leading to underutilization of rehabilitation therapies, muscle atrophy, and global deconditioning.