The unvanquished: Prevalence of moral masochistic personality characteristics in persons with fibromyalgia

Murray J. McAllister (2000)

The following is a descriptive, correlational study of the prevalence and role of moral masochistic personality characteristics in a sample (N = 54) of persons with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). It is hypothesized that an increased prevalence of a number of preoedipal characteristics commonly associated with moral masochism: perfectionism, ergomania, omnipotence, shame, guilt, inhibited aggression, and lower levels of perceived quality of social support. It is also hypothesized that these characteristics should significantly correlate with measures of FMS symptom severity. Lastly, exploratory stepwise multiple regression analyses determine the best model to predict FMS symptoms. These hypotheses are derived from a structural and developmental formulation of moral masochism as the premorbid personality organization of persons with FMS and its interaction with the disease process to explain the etiology and chronic nature of the disorder. Results of this investigation identify increased prevalence of perfectionism, omnipotence, shame, inhibited aggression, and lower levels of perceived quality of social support. The hypothesized prevalence of ergomania and guilt were unsupported. Highly significant, low-moderate to moderate correlations obtained between personality measures and FMS symptom measures. A series of stepwise multiple regression analyses produced models of FMS symptoms that were largely, but not wholly, in the predicted directions.