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Pain perception in NSSI behavior

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posted on 2021-08-30, 08:37 authored by Anastasiya ShuptaAnastasiya Shupta, Nataly RadchikovaNataly Radchikova
The data contain the results of pain catastrophizing (Pain Catastrophizing Scale, PCS), personality characteristics (Eysenck Personality Inventory, EPI-A), and pain perception (McGill Pain Questionnaire, MPQ) measurements for three groups of participants: healthy controls (N=151), past NSSI (N=121), and NSSI patients (N=40) in English (“Pain perception in NSSI behavior (Eng).xlsx”) and Russian (“Pain perception in NSSI behavior (Rus).xlsx”) languages.


Research questions / Hypotheses

1) The indicators of psychological aspects of pain perception (pain catastrophizing, affective scale of Gill Pain Questionnaire) will be higher for individuals engaged in NSSI than for healthy controls. 2) Pain catastrophizing mediates the influence of neuroticism on pain perception

Participants / Sample description

A total of 313 individuals took part in the investigation: Healthy Controls (HC) who indicated in their survey that they were never engaged in NSSI (N=152); Past NSSI group who indicated that they were engaged in NSSI in the past (N=121), and NSSI patients with a psychiatric diagnosis and undergoing treatment (N=40). Age varied from 18 to 53 years (mean = 22,6; median = 22; std.dev. = 4.64).

Apparatus and materials

1) Pain Catastrophizing Scale (Radchikova et al. Russian Adaptation of the Pain Catastrophizing Scale // Clinical Psychology and Special Education. 2020, 9(4), 169–187. doi:10.17759/cpse.2020090409 (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)). 2) Eysenck Personality Inventory EPI/A (Shmelev A.G. Test-oprosnik Ajzenka [Eysenck's questionnaire] // Psychodiagnostics Handbook for Practitioners. Psychodiagnostic materials. Moscow: Moscow State University, 1988. pp. 11-16 (in Russ.)) 3) McGiIl Pain Questionnaire MPQ (Kuz'menko V.V. et al. Psychological Methods of Quantitative Pain Assessment // Soviet Medicine. 1986, 10, 44-48 (In Russ.)) At the time of questioning, all the participants did not experience pain and, according to the instructions, the assessment of pain and the attitude towards it was carried out by the respondents based on the recollections of a recent and most vivid painful episode.

Data collection procedure

For two groups (Heathy Controls and past NSSI) the web-based survey was promoted using a combination of purposive, convenience and snowball sampling techniques. The survey included three questionnaires (PCS, EPI-A, and MPQ) and at the end additional questions about age, sex, the episodes of past NSSI, and, if any, how long ago did it happen. The question about NSSI included the definition of the phenomenon (deliberate action of causing physical harm to oneself) and examples (cutting or burning skin, punching or hitting themselves, poisoning themselves with tablets or toxic chemicals, misusing alcohol or drugs, etc.). Participation was entirely voluntary, anonymous, and consensual; the informed consent from participants were obtained prior to testing. The third group (NSSI) underwent a full-time study during their stay in hospitals along with other diagnostic procedures. Testing was done with the help of hospitals’ personal.

Statistical methods

One-way ANOVA, Levene's homogeneity of variance test, ordinary Pearson and partial correlations, SEM


Individuals currently engaged in NSSI behavior have the higher level of neuroticism and pain catastrophizing. NSSI groups (past or present) report higher level of pain (both PPI and NWC) comparing with healthy controls. The comparison of ordinary and partial correlations and SEM results confirm that pain catastrophizing mediates the influence of neuroticism on pain perception.


European Journal of Pain


Anastasiya P. Shupta, registrar, National Medical Research Center of Psychiatry and Narcology named after V.P. Serbsky of the Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow, Russia Nataly P. Radchikova, PhD in Psychology, Leading Researcher of Scientific and Practical Center for Comprehensive Support of Psychological Research PsyDATA, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia