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Papers: 5 Mar 2022 - 11 Mar 2022

2022 May

Brain Behav Immun Health


Individuals with both higher recent negative affect and physical pain have higher levels of C-reactive protein.


Graham-Engeland J, DeMeo NN, Jones DR, Mathur A, Smyth JM, Sliwinski MJ, McGrady ME, Lipton RB, Katz MJ, Engeland CG
Brain Behav Immun Health. 2022 May; 21:100431.
PMID: 35243409.


Conceptualizing physical pain and negative affect as potentially interactive, we hypothesized that higher levels of peripheral inflammatory markers would be observed consistently only among individuals with both higher negative affect and pain symptomatology. Participants were generally healthy midlife adults from the Bronx, NY ( ​= ​212,  ​= ​46.77; 60.8% Black, 25.5% Hispanic/Latina/o) recruited as part of a larger study. Key measures were: reported pain intensity and pain interference at baseline, recent negative affect averaged from self-reports 5x/day for 7 days, and peripheral inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein [CRP] and a composite cytokine measure based on seven cytokines). Controlling for age, BMI, gender, and education, recent negative affect significantly interacted with both pain variables to explain variance in CRP, with higher CRP levels observed only in individuals with both higher negative affect and either higher pain intensity or pain interference. These findings contribute to an emerging literature suggesting that negative affect, pain, and inflammation are related in important and complex ways.