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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Feb 2024 - 23 Feb 2024

2024 Feb 16

J Pain


Biobehavioral Predictors of Pain Intensity, Pain Interference, and Chronic Pain Episodes: A Prospective Cohort Study of African-American Adults.


Morris MC, Bruehl S, Mbbs UR, Goodin BR, Karlson C, Carter C, Nag S, Huber FA, Bendinskas KG, Hidoyatov M, Kinney K, Rochelle A, Funches G


Racial disparities in pain experiences are well-established, with African-American adults reporting higher rates of daily pain, increased pain severity, and greater pain-related interference compared to non-Hispanic Whites. However, the biobehavioral factors that predict transition to chronic pain among African-American adults are not well understood. This prospective cohort study provided a unique opportunity to evaluate predictors of chronic pain onset among 130 African-American adults (81 women), ages 18 to 44, who did not report chronic pain at their baseline assessment and subsequently completed follow-up assessments at 6- and 12-months. Outcome measures included pain intensity, pain-related interference, and chronic pain status. Comprehensive assessments of sociodemographic and biobehavioral factors were used to evaluate demographics, socioeconomic status (SES), stress exposure, psychosocial factors, prolonged hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal secretion, and quantitative sensory testing (QST) responses. At baseline, 30 adults (23.1%) reported a history of prior chronic pain. Over the 12-month follow-up period, 13 adults (10.0%) developed a new chronic pain episode and 18 adults (13.8%) developed a recurrent chronic pain episode. Whereas SES measures (i.e., annual income, education) predicted changes in pain intensity over the follow-up period, QST measures (i.e., pain threshold, temporal summation of pain) predicted changes in pain interference. History of chronic pain and higher depressive symptoms at baseline independently predicted onset of a new chronic pain episode. The present findings highlight distinct subsets of biobehavioral factors that are differentially associated with trajectories of pain intensity, pain-related interference, and onset of chronic pain episodes in African-American adults. PERSPECTIVE: This prospective study sought to advance understanding of biobehavioral factors that predicted pain outcomes over a 12-month follow-up period among African-American adults without chronic pain at their initial assessment. Findings revealed distinct subsets of factors that were differentially associated with pain intensity, pain-related interference, and onset of chronic pain episodes.