This study investigated the association between repeated childhood and adulthood abuse and somatic symptom reporting, mental health care use, and substance use among women with chronic pain.
A survey of a consecutive sample.
Ninety consecutive women patients presenting for chronic pain management at a multidisciplinary pain management center.
The authors assessed the presence or absence of physical or sexual abuse (using the Drossman Physical-Sexual Abuse Survey), period of abuse, demographics, mental health care use, drug or alcohol use and substance abuse, and the presence or absence of physical, pain, and anxiety (somatic) symptoms.
The response rate among patients surveyed was 64%. Of the 43 respondents (48%) who reported abuse, 17 (40%) cited childhood abuse, 12 (28%) cited adulthood abuse, and 14 (33%) cited repeated abuse. Women describing long-term abuse reported a significantly greater number of physical, pain, and anxiety symptoms and were more likely to report a history of substance abuse than women reporting abuse during childhood or adulthood alone.
These data indicate a significant association between health status and reported abuse among women presenting to a multidisciplinary pain center for pain management. This finding is consistent with those of previous investigators, and emphasizes the importance of routine evaluation of the presence of long-term abuse as a possible predictor of the onset of chronic pain states.