Lower Income Linked to Pain

Arthur A. Stone, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University, and Alan Krueger, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Economics and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University conducted a community-based telephone survey via random-digit dialing to contact more than 10,000 people. In total, the researchers interviewed 3,982 people. The diary-survey involved phoning respondents and asking them to reconstruct the previous day.

Three episodes from that day were randomly selected and information about pain, emotions, and current activity was obtained. The respondents were also questioned about their quality of life, occupation, education and whether they had a disability that limited their work. To make the study results representative of the U.S. population, the data were adjusted with sample weights developed by the Gallup Organization.

The summary of the research findings showed that 29 percent of men and 27 percent of women reported feeling some pain at sampled times – an indication that more than one quarter of Americans experience at least some daily pain. The authors also illustrate an association between pain and lower income and less education. “Those with lower income or less education spent a higher proportion of time in pain and reported higher average pain than did those with higher income or more education.”

Stone said that the link between pain and levels of income and education in the study supports other findings that illustrate better health is associated with higher socioeconomic status. Additionally, the researchers wrote. “The average pain rating increased with age, although it reached a plateau between ages of about 45 years and 75 years, with little difference between men and women. Satisfaction with life or health and the pain indicators tended to move in opposite directions.”

MEDICA.de; Source: Stony Brook University Medical Center