Objective The aim of the study was to better address sociodemographic-related health disparities. This study examined which sociodemographic variables most strongly correlate with self-reported health in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Design This single-center, cross-sectional study examined adult patients, followed by a physiatrist for chronic (≥4 yrs) musculoskeletal pain. Sociodemographic variables considered were race, sex, and disparate social disadvantage (measured as residential address in the worst vs. best Area Deprivation Index national quartile). The primary comparison was the adjusted effect size of each variable on physical and behavioral health (measured by Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System [PROMIS]). Results In 1193 patients (age = 56.3 ± 13.0 yrs), disparate social disadvantage was associated with worse health in all domains assessed (PROMIS Physical Function Β = -2.4 points [95% confidence interval = -3.8 to -1.0], Pain Interference = 3.3 [2.0 to 4.6], Anxiety = 4.0 [1.8 to 6.2], and Depression = 3.7 [1.7 to 5.6]). Black race was associated with greater anxiety than white race (3.2 [1.1 to 5.3]), and female sex was associated with worse physical function than male sex (-2.5 [-3.5 to -1.5]). Conclusions Compared with race and sex, social disadvantage is more consistently associated with worse physical and behavioral health in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Investment to ameliorate disadvantage in geographically defined communities may improve health in sociodemographically at-risk populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-216
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • Chronic Pain
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases
  • Socioeconomic Factors


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