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Papers of the Week

Papers: 10 Jul 2021 - 16 Jul 2021


Human Studies

2021 Jul 09


An intersectional identity approach to chronic pain disparities using latent class analysis.


Research on intersectionality and chronic pain disparities is very limited. Intersectionality explores the interconnections between multiple aspects of identity and provides a more accurate picture of disparities. This study applied a relatively novel statistical approach (i.e., Latent Class Analysis; LCA) to examine chronic pain disparities with an intersectional identity approach. Cross-sectional data were analyzed using pre-treatment data from the Learning About My Pain (LAMP) trial, a randomized comparative effectiveness study of group-based psychosocial interventions (PCORI Contract #941, Beverly Thorn, PI; clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT01967342) for patients receiving care for chronic pain at low-income clinics in rural and suburban Alabama. LCA results suggested a 5-class model. In order to easily identify each class, the following labels were created: Older Adults (OA), Younger Adults (YA), Severe Disparity (SD), Older/Black/African-American (OB), and Working Women (WW). The latent disparity classes varied by pre-treatment chronic pain functioning. Overall, the SD group had the lowest levels of functioning, and the WW group had the highest levels of functioning. Although younger and with higher literacy levels, the YA group had similar levels of pain interference and depressive symptoms to the SD group (p's < .05). The YA group also had higher pain catastrophizing than the OA group (p < .005). Results highlighted the importance of the interactions between the multiple factors of socioeconomic status, age, and race in the experience of chronic pain. The intersectional identity theory approach through LCA provided an integrated picture of chronic pain disparities in a highly understudied and underserved population.