Are reports of childhood abuse related to the experience of chronic pain in adulthood? A meta-analytic review of the literature

Debra A. Davis, Linda Luecken, Alex J. Zautra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

202 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Recent empirical evidence suggests that childhood abuse may be related to the experience of chronic pain in adulthood. To date, a systematic quantitative review of the literature has not been presented. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to use meta-analytic procedures to evaluate the strength of existing evidence of the association between self-reports of childhood abuse and the experience of chronic pain in adulthood. Methods: Analyses were designed to test the relationship across several relevant criteria with 4 separate meta-analyses. Results: Results of the analyses are as follows: 1) individuals who reported being abused or neglected in childhood also reported more pain symptoms and related conditions than those not abused or neglected in childhood; 2) patients with chronic pain were more likely to report having been abused or neglected in childhood than healthy controls; 3) patients with chronic pain were more likely to report having been abused or neglected in childhood than nonpatients with chronic pain identified from the community; and 4) individuals from the community reporting pain were more likely to report having been abused or neglected than individuals from the community not reporting pain. Conclusion: Results provide evidence that individuals who report abusive or neglectful childhood experiences are at increased risk of experiencing chronic pain in adulthood relative to individuals not reporting abuse or neglect in childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-405
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Journal of Pain
Volume21
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005

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Keywords

  • Child abuse
  • Chronic pain
  • Neglect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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