Pain and Psychosocial Health
Both pain intensity and limitation due to pain affect mental health in people with arthritis, according to research funded in part by the Arthritis Foundation.
Affect: A feeling or emotion. Positive affects can be described as follows: interested, excited, strong, enthusiastic, proud, alert, inspired, determined, attentive and active. Negative affects can be described as follows: distressed, upset, guilty, scared, hostile, irritable, ashamed, nervous, jittery and afraid.
Researchers from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill surveyed 2,156 people from a Family Medicine Research Network. The survey collected data on chronic conditions, pain, health attitudes and beliefs, and sociodemographic variables. Pain was assessed as pain intensity and limitations due to pain. Health attitudes and beliefs were assessed using seven different measurement tools.
Of the respondents, 53 percent reported that they had arthritis. Using mediation analyses, the team found that pain partially moderates the relationship between arthritis and poorer psychosocial health outcomes. That is to say that those with arthritis had greater pain intensity and greater pain limitations than those respondents without arthritis, and greater pain lead to poorer mental health, less satisfaction with life, greater symptoms of depression and greater negative affect in those respondents with arthritis.
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Martin KR, et al. The role of pain intensity and pain limitation as mediators in the relationship between arthritis status and seven psychosocial health outcomes. Abstract presented at American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting. San Francisco, October 25-29, 2008.