Abstract| Volume 14, ISSUE 4, SUPPLEMENT , S18, April 2013

Community characteristics and chronic pain: pain is bigger than one’s self

      Many studies have been conducted to identify a variety of individual factors that may contribute to the experience of chronic pain. Yet, substantially less research has addressed the contributions of larger community and environmental factors on the prevalence and severity of chronic pain. This study examines social environmental characteristics including one’s community’s population density, poverty rate, average education levels, and area ethnic diversity as correlates of pain prevalence and severity. The data for this study were collected through a computer-assisted telephone interview to obtain a representative sample in the state of Michigan (n = 1,179). The overall prevalence of chronic pain attributed to any cause was 21.9%. In this study, county, city, and zip code levels of analysis were used in logistic analyses to identify the various levels of community that are associated with chronic pain prevalence. In addition, multiple regression analyses were used to examine the association between community variables and pain severity among those with chronic pain. The findings from this study provide information about how individuals with chronic pain are impacted by certain types of community factors. Results may be helpful in targeting at risk groups and conducting public health education and prevention campaigns in communities most at risk for chronic pain.