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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Jan 2021 - 29 Jan 2021


Human Studies

2021 Jan 20


Gray Matter Volume Differences Between More Versus Less Resilient Adults with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: A Voxel-Based Morphology Study.


Resilience, a personality construct that reflects capacities to persevere, maintain a positive outlook and/or thrive despite ongoing stressors, has emerged as an important focus of research on chronic pain (CP). Although behavior studies have found more resilient persons with CP experience less pain-related dysfunction than less resilient cohorts do, the presence and nature of associated brain structure differences has received scant attention. To address this gap, we examined gray matter volume (GMV) differences between more versus less resilient adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Participants (75 women, 43 men) were community-dwellers who reported ongoing musculoskeletal pain for at least three months. More (n = 57) and less (n = 61) resilient subgroups, respectively, were identified on the basis of scoring above and below median scores on two validated resilience questionnaires. Voxel-based morphology (VBM) undertaken to examine resilience subgroup differences in GMV indicated more resilient participants displayed significantly larger GMV in the (1) bilateral precuneus, (2) left superior and inferior parietal lobules, (3) orbital right middle frontal gyrus and medial right superior frontal gyrus, and (4) bilateral median cingulate and paracingulate gyri, even after controlling for subgroup differences on demographics and measures of pain-related distress. Together, results underscored the presence and nature of specific GMV differences underlying subjective reports of more versus less resilient responses to ongoing musculoskeletal pain.