Factors Influencing Chronic Pain Intensity in Older Black Women: Examining Depression, Locus of Control, and Physical Health

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Background: Chronic pain may function uniquely within a given race group, which may affect their physical health and psychological well-being. This is particularly relevant among women from diverse race populations.

Methods: Hierarchical multivariate regression analysis was used to examine pain intensity and its relationship to depressive symptoms, health locus of control, life satisfaction, and various health and demographic characteristics in a cross-sectional sample of 181 black women ≥50 years old.

Results: Results from the multivariate model showed that age, depression, physical functioning, and locus of control explained unique variance in pain intensity (44%), suggesting that younger age, reporting more depressive symptoms, limited functional capacity, the belief that one has control over one's health, and the belief that one's health is not controlled by others were significant predictors of greater pain intensity among this sample.

Conclusions: These findings underscore the importance of continued research on disease processes, as well as physical and mental health outcomes of older black women reporting chronic pain. Specifically, the study demonstrates the value of research focusing on withingroup factors impacting a single population, thereby understanding the myriad of factors that may explain the unique pain experience of older black women.

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Journal of Women's Health, v. 17, issue 5, p. 869-878