Temperament and character in patients with acute abdominal pain

Erik Lexne, Lars Brudin, James J. Strain, Per Olof Nylander, Ina Marteinsdottir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Several conditions presenting with abdominal pain are associated with specific personality factors although it is unclear if this is true also in emergency clinic settings. Objective: To study personality factors among patients with acute abdominal pain in an emergency ward. Methods: Consecutive patients (N = 165) with abdominal symptoms at an emergency clinic were administrated the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). Three main groups were identified; specific abdominal diagnoses, (N = 77), non-specific abdominal pain, (N = 67) and organic dyspepsia (N = 21). TCI results were compared between clinical groups and a control group (N = 122). Results: As compared to individuals with specific abdominal diagnoses and controls, those with organic dyspepsia were significantly more anxious (harm avoidance), (p = 0.003), and had lower ability to cooperate (cooperativeness) (p = 0.048 and p = 0.004 respectively). They were also significantly more unpretentious (self-transcendence) compared to individuals with specific abdominal diagnoses (p = 0.048), non-specific abdominal pain (p = 0.012) and controls (p = 0.004) and evidenced less mature character (sum of self-directedness and cooperativeness) compared to those with specific abdominal diagnoses and controls (p = 0.003). Conclusion: Individuals seeking care at an emergency clinic with organic dyspepsia showed a distinguishable pattern of personality features that distinguished them from the other comparison groups. Therefore an evaluation of personality factors may add a new dimension to the diagnostic investigation in the emergency care of abdominal pain and contribute to the optimization of the treatment of organic dyspepsia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-133
Number of pages6
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Anxiety
  • Character
  • Emergency clinic
  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders
  • Harm avoidance
  • Organic dyspepsia


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