Male and female chronic pain patients categorized by DSM-III psychiatric diagnostic criteria

David A. Fishbain, Myron Goldberg, B. Robert Meagher, Renee Steele, Hubert Rosomoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

428 Scopus citations


Two hundred and eighty-three chronic pain patients, consecutive admissions to the Comprehensive Pain Center of the University of Miami School of Medicine, received an extensive psychiatric evaluation based upon the American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) criteria and flowsheets. All patients received the following type of diagnoses: DSM-III axis I; DSM-III axis II, and personality type. The distribution of assigned diagnoses for the entire patient sample was reviewed and a statistical comparison between male and female patients was performed with regards to the prevalence of each diagnosis. Anxiety syndromes and depression of various diagnostic types were the most frequently assigned axis I diagnoses with over half the patient sample receiving each of these diagnoses. Males were significantly overrepresented in the axis I diagnoses of intermittent explosive disorders, adjustment disorders with work inhibitions, and alcohol abuse and other drug dependence, while females were significantly overrepresented in disorders of current depression of various diagnostic types and somatization disorders. 58.4% of the patients fulfilled criteria for axis II personality disorder diagnoses. The most frequently personality disorders found in the patient group were dependent (17.4%), passive aggressive (14.9%), and histrionic (11.7%). Males were significantly overrepresented in paranoid and narcissistic disorders while females were overrepresented in histrionic disorder. The most frequent personality types found in the patient group were compulsive (24.5%) and dependent (10.6%). All personality types were similarly distributed between the sexes. The results of the present study were compared to a previous study of DSM-III diagnoses in chronic pain patients and are discussed in terms of the prevalence of DSM-III diagnoses in the general population. Questions are raised as to the applicability of certain DSM-III diagnoses in the chronic pain population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-197
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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