Neighbourhood socioeconomic status and pain among older adults—A cross-sectional study

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Background: Pain is associated with falls, disability and a poor quality of life among older adults. It is highly prevalent in many societies, and studies have shown that pain could be preventable or managed more effectively at the population level. However, few studies have investigated who is at higher risk of pain in the general population, which is important for development of effective interventions. The purpose of this study was to investigate, by using nationally representative samples in Sweden, whether neighbourhood socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with pain among older adults after considering other important risk factors. Methods: The study used the Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), which is a nationwide annual survey of the living conditions of residents in Sweden. We used the data of individuals who were over 65 years of age between 2008 and 2013. Multivariable logistic regression was conducted to investigate the association between neighbourhood SES and severe pain. Results: Those who resided in low SES neighbourhoods had a 30% higher odds of having severe pain than those who resided in high SES neighbourhoods after controlling for individual risk factors, such as the sex, age, individual SES, smoking, exercise habits and body mass index. Exercise was protective against severe pain. Conclusion: Given the high prevalence of pain across populations, interventions targeting geographic areas (such as those in the current study) in combination with individual risk factors could be effective to reduce the burden of pain at the population level. Significance: Those who reside in neighbourhoods with low SES may have higher risks of pain due to a lack of health-promoting resources as well as psychological stress. Further studies identifying the specific mechanisms behind the association between neighbourhood SES and pain would be useful in order to develop effective interventions.

TidskriftEuropean Journal of Pain (United Kingdom)
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi


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