Posted on October 5, 2009 by
A comparison of chronic pain patients and controls on traumatic events in childhood.
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston, USA. THAYER9378@aol.com
PURPOSE: The purpose was to examine the incidence of traumatic events in childhood, such as sexual and physical abuse, in a chronic pain group and a control group of hospital employees without chronic pain. METHOD: Ninety two patients with chronic pain, age range 20-62, were consecutively recruited from the outpatient clinics of a rehabilitation hospital and a general hospital. Ninety eight hospital employees, age range 20-62, were consecutively recruited from the employee health office of a rehabilitation hospital. All participants responded to nine questions related to sexual, physical and verbal abuse in childhood and completed the Childhood Traumatic Events Scale. A logistic regression with age, gender, sexual, physical, and verbal abuse, death of a family member, childhood illness, major upheaval before age 17, as independent variables were used to predict membership in the pain group contrasted with the control group. RESULTS: Child abuse was reported in the childhood history by 54.4% of the chronic pain group, compared with 21.4% of the control group. A logistic regression showed that after adjusting for gender and age, sexual and verbal abuse were statistically significant predictors of being a member of the pain group. Odds ratios were sexual abuse: 2.67, p < 0.05, CI 1.00-7.14. Verbal abuse: 4.39, p < 0.001, CI 1.93-9.97. A logistic regression was modelled to predict child abuse when gender was taken into account. The results of the logistic regression showed that pain was a significant predictor for sexual abuse after adjusting for gender and age: odds ratio 4.37, p < 0.001, CI 1.80-10.60. Gender was not a statistically significant predictor for sexual abuse, after adjusting for pain and age: odds ratio 2.92, p < 0.072, CI 0.91-9.42. CONCLUSIONS: A history of physical, sexual and verbal abuse is more likely to occur in a chronic pain group than in a control group of hospital employees. Although child abuse is reported to be as high as 25% in the general American population, the statistics for chronic pain patients are twice as high as in the general population. The mechanisms for abuse include age, gender, and early family environment.