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Generation gap found in chronic pain

ANN ARBOR, MI Adults under the age of 50 who have chronic pain may be less able to cope with their condition and more prone to associated depression than their elders, a new study suggests.

And the same "generation gap" pattern exists among both blacks and whites, though blacks of all ages have previously been found to experience more pain and more pain-related negative effects than whites.

The study also finds that in general, blacks scored higher than whites on measurements of the intensity of their pain, disability related to their pain, and depression symptoms. This finding is consistent with past studies on pain that examined racial differences in chronic pain experience.

The new study, by researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of South Florida, appears in a special issue of the journal Pain Medicine, published by the American Academy of Pain Medicine. The issue focuses on the differences in pain, pain effects and pain treatment that are increasingly being found between members of different racial and ethnic groups.

"No matter what your color or age, chronic pain has a major impact on your life and your ability to work or function," says the study's senior author, U-M pain specialist Carmen R. Green, M.D., who is co-guest editor of the special issue. "Our study suggests that age is a significant factor across races and ethnicities, and that the impact of pain may differ even within racial and ethnic groups." Green recently was named an inaugural Mayday Pain and Society fellow by the Mayday Pain Project.

The new study examined detailed data from 5,823 black and white adults treated at the U-M Multidisciplinary Pain Center over eight years. They were divided into two groups: those under age 50, and those over age 50.

During their evaluation for pain treatment, the patients completed standardized questionnaires that assessed their mental and physical status, as well as the intensity and im
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
24-Jan-2005


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