Are demographic variables (age, gender, sex, and marital status) predictors of chronic pain and chronic pain disability?
The literature search identified one systematic review plus 12 observational studies (11 back or spinal pain and 1 whiplash) to provide evidence about this question.
The role of predictive factors varied with different patient groups, settings, and interventions. Analytic methods also varied. Most studies evaluated age, sex, and marital status with other nondemographic variables.
The studies provided limited and conflicting evidence (level 4b) that either increasing age or sex correlates with chronic pain and chronic pain disability. Marital status and education both showed conflicting evidence (level 4b) of a correlation with chronic pain. Age and sex express different risks for disease, severity of injury, and occupational opportunities and choices. Demographic factors can modify the effect of other factors with which they interact. Future identification of predictors of chronic pain should include control for age and gender (level 3).