02. tbl. 109. árg. 2023

Adult chronic pain in relation to psychological trauma in childhood

Tengsl langvinnra verkja á fullorðinsárum og sálrænna áfalla í æsku

Vigdís Hlíf Pálsdóttir1,2

Þorbjörg Jónsdóttir1

Guðmundur Kristján Óskarsson1

1University of Akureyri, 2The Family Department of Árborg Municipality.

Correspondence: Vigdís Hlíf Pálsdóttir, vhp1@unak.is

Key words: chronic pain, psychological trauma, violence, neglect, psychological trauma in childhood.

INTRODUCTION: Chronic pain is a health problem that is one of leading cause of disability. Studies have shown that various aspects of a person's history, such as difficult experiences in early life, can affect lifestyle and health later. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between chronic pain, adverse childhood experience (ACE) and violence in adulthood in the general population of Iceland.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A retrospective cross-sectional study. The sample was 12.400 individuals, 18-80 years of age, randomly selected from respondents' group of the data collection company MASKINA (National Portal). Data on chronic pain, ACE and experience of violence in adulthood were examined. Statistical processing was carried out in IBM SPSS Statistics 28th edition.

RESULTS: Response rate was 44.8% (female 57.1%, M=56 years). Prevalence of chronic pain (≥3 months) was 40.1%. A total of 91.1% of participants answered questions about ACE, of which 16.1% ≥4 ACE-scores. There was a positive relationship between ACE and chronic pain (OR = 1.675, 95% CI: 1.420 - 1.977). Those who had ≥4 ACE-scores were more likely to have experienced violence in adulthood.

CONCLUSION: The results of this study show that chronic pain and violence in adulthood can be associated with psychological childhood trauma. People who experience psychological childhood trauma and violence in adulthood are more likely to suffer from chronic pain. It is important to be aware of experiences of childhood psychological trauma and violence when people seek healthcare for chronic pain.


Table I. Background characteristic.

Table II. Relationship between chronic pain and adverse childhood experience, smoking, alcohol use, BMI, sex, education and violence in adulthood.

Table III. Relationship between chronic pain background and lifestyle variables.

Table IV. Relationship between chronic pain and adverse childhood experience and pcychological trauma in adulthood.

Table V. Relationshop between adverse childhood experience and physical-, emotional or sexual abuse in adulthood.

Table VI. Binory logistic regression to assess relationship between chronic pain and psychological trauma.




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