Biobehavioral Predictors of Pain Intensity, Pain Interference, and Chronic Pain Episodes: A Prospective Cohort Study of African-American Adults

Matthew C. Morris, Stephen Bruehl, Uma Rao, Burel R. Goodin, Cynthia Karlson, Chelsea Carter, Subodh Nag, Felicitas A. Huber, Kestutis G. Bendinskas, Muhammad Hidoyatov, Kerry Kinney, Aubrey Rochelle, Gaarmel Funches

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Racial disparities in pain experiences are well-established, with African-American (AA) adults reporting higher rates of daily pain, increased pain severity, and greater pain-related interference compared to non-Hispanic Whites. However, the biobehavioral factors that predict the transition to chronic pain among AA adults are not well understood. This prospective cohort study provided a unique opportunity to evaluate predictors of chronic pain onset among 130 AA adults (81 women), ages 18 to 44, who did not report chronic pain at their baseline assessment and subsequently completed follow-up assessments at 6- and 12-months. Outcome measures included pain intensity, pain-related interference, and chronic pain status. Comprehensive assessments of sociodemographic and biobehavioral factors were used to evaluate demographics, socioeconomic status, stress exposure, psychosocial factors, prolonged hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal secretion, and quantitative sensory testing responses. At baseline, 30 adults (23.1%) reported a history of prior chronic pain. Over the 12-month follow-up period, 13 adults (10.0%) developed a new chronic pain episode, and 18 adults (13.8%) developed a recurrent chronic pain episode. Whereas socioeconomic status measures (ie, annual income, education) predicted changes in pain intensity over the follow-up period, quantitative sensory testing measures (ie, pain threshold, temporal summation of pain) predicted changes in pain interference. A history of chronic pain and higher depressive symptoms at baseline independently predicted the onset of a new chronic pain episode. The present findings highlight distinct subsets of biobehavioral factors that are differentially associated with trajectories of pain intensity, pain-related interference, and onset of chronic pain episodes in AA adults. Perspective: This prospective study sought to advance understanding of biobehavioral factors that predicted pain outcomes over a 12-month follow-up period among AA adults without chronic pain at their initial assessment. Findings revealed distinct subsets of factors that were differentially associated with pain intensity, pain-related interference, and onset of chronic pain episodes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pain
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • African-American
  • Chronic pain
  • biobehavioral
  • prospective
  • socioeconomic

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