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Aggression, impulsivity, and suicide risk in benign chronic pain patients – a cross-sectional study

Authors Margari F, Lorusso M, Matera E, Pastore A, Zagaria G, Bruno F, Puntillo F, Margari L

Received 15 April 2014

Accepted for publication 5 June 2014

Published 2 September 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 1613—1620

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S66209

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Francesco Margari,1 Marina Lorusso,2 Emilia Matera,3 Adriana Pastore,1 Giuseppina Zagaria,3 Francesco Bruno,4 Filomena Puntillo,4 Lucia Margari3

1
Psychiatry Unit, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sense Organs, University Hospital of Bari, Bari, Italy; 2Department of Mental Health ASL BAT, Barletta, Italy; 3Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sense Organs, University Hospital of Bari, Bari Italy; 4Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit, Department of Emergency and Organ Transplants, University Hospital of Bari, Bari, Italy

Objectives: The objective of this study was to investigate the role that psychopathological dimensions as overt aggression and impulsivity play in determining suicide risk in benign chronic pain patients (CPPs). Furthermore we investigated the possible protective/risk factors which promote these negative feelings, analyzing the relationship between CPPs and their caregivers.
Methods: We enrolled a total of 208 patients, divided into CPPs and controls affected by internistic diseases. Assessment included collection of sociodemographic and healthcare data, pain characteristics, administration of visual analog scale (VAS), Modified Overt Aggression Scale (MOAS), Barratt Impulsiveness Scale Version 11 (BIS), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), and a caregiver self-administered questionnaire. All variables were statistically analyzed.
Results: A significant difference of VAS, MOAS-total/verbal/auto-aggression, HDRS-total/suicide mean scores between the groups were found. BIS mean score was higher in CPPs misusing analgesics. In CPPs a correlation between MOAS-total/verbal/auto-aggression with BIS mean score, MOAS with HDRS-suicide mean score and BIS with HDRS-suicide mean scores were found. The MOAS and BIS mean scores were significantly higher when caregivers were not supportive.
Conclusion: In CPPs, aggression and impulsivity could increase the risk of suicide. Moreover, impulsivity, overt aggression and pain could be interrelated by a common biological core. Our study supports the importance of a multidisciplinary approach in the CPPs management and the necessity to supervise caregivers, which may become risk/protective factors for the development of feelings interfering with the treatment and rehabilitation of CPPs.

Keywords: chronic pain, overt aggression, impulsivity, suicide

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