Original ArticleStressful Experiences in Childhood and Chronic Back Pain in the General PopulationKopec, Jacek A MD, PhD*†; Sayre, Eric C BSc†Author Information From the *Department of Health Care and Epidemiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and †Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Received for publication December 10, 2003; revised June 19, 2004; accepted June 26, 2004. Supported by a grant from the Canadian Population Health Initiative. Reprints: Dr. Jacek A. Kopec, Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, 895 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1L7, Canada (e-mail: [email protected]). The Clinical Journal of Pain: November-December 2005 - Volume 21 - Issue 6 - p 478-483 doi: 10.1097/01.ajp.0000139909.97211.e1 Buy Metrics Abstract Objectives: To determine if stressful experiences in childhood are associated with an increased risk of chronic back problems later in life. Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study in the Canadian household population. Study participants were respondents to the first 3 cycles of the National Population Health Survey in Canada who were 18 years of age or older at baseline (n = 9552). Cases of chronic back pain during a 4-year follow-up period were ascertained with an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Stressful experiences in childhood were measured by an index consisting of 7 questions. Results: In multivariate analyses, the risk of back pain was 1.17 (95% confidence interval 0.97-1.41) for 1 stressful event and 1.49 (95% confidence interval 1.21-1.84) for 2 or more events. The effect was consistent across subgroups defined by gender, socioeconomic status, and health status. Specific events associated with an increased risk included fearful experiences, prolonged hospitalization, and parental unemployment. Discussion: Our study shows that persons reporting multiple stressful experiences in childhood are at increased risk of developing chronic back problems. © 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.