The Personification of Chronic Pain: An Examination Using the Ben-Gurion University Illness Personification Scale (BGU-IPS)

Noga Tsur, Gal Noyman-Veksler, Idan Elbaz, Lilach Weisman, Silviu Brill, Hadar Shalev, Zvia Rudich, Golan Shahar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Relying on anthropomorphism research, Illness Personification Theory (ILL-PERF) posits that individuals living with a chronic illness ascribe human-like characteristics to their illness. Herein we examine the personification of chronic pain using a new measure: the Ben-Gurion University Illness Personification Scale (BGU-IPS). Method: Three samples of chronic pain patients (Sample 1 and 2 are distinct samples sharing similar characteristics, collected in the context of a cross-sectional design, Ns = 259, 263; Sample 3: a 2-waves longitudinal, N =163) completed the 12-item BGU-IPS, and measures of pain and related factors. Results: An orthogonal, two-factor structure was revealed for the BGU-IPS pertaining to negative vs. positive personifications. Negative personification was associated with pain intensity and illness-related distress (e.g., depression and low adjustment to pain). Positive personification was correlated with hope, pain-related sense of control, and low depression. However, positive personification also augmented the associations between negative personification and several risk factors. Conclusions: Pain personification, particularly as assessed via the BGU-IPS, plays a major role in (mal)adaptation to chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-156
Number of pages20
JournalPsychiatry (New York)
Volume86
Issue number2
Early online date31 Oct 2022
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Washington School of Psychiatry.

Funding

This work on Sample 3 was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF) under Grant 1[97/12] to Golan Shahar.

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation1[97/12

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