Age differences in cognitive-affective processes in adults with chronic pain.

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Chronic pain is associated with significant physical and psychological impairments across the adult lifespan. However, there is a relative gap in knowledge on individual differences that predict pain-related functioning. The current study highlights one important source of individual variation: age.Using cross-sectional data from a large treatment-seeking cohort of 2,905 adults (M age = 46.6 [13.1]; 71.8 % female) presenting to a tertiary pain center in the United Kingdom (UK), we sought to determine age differences in cognitive-affective processes (catastrophizing, acceptance, self-efficacy), including their differential patterns and effects on disability and depression.Older adults (ages 65- 75) were found to experience higher pain acceptance and pain self-efficacy compared to both middle-aged (ages 40-64) and young adult (ages 18-39) age groups. Older adults also experienced lower levels of catastrophizing compared to middle-age adults. Testing age as a moderator, we found that the relationships of pain self-efficacy and acceptance with depression as well as the relationship between pain self-efficacy and disability were comparatively weakest among older adults and strongest among young adults. Similarly, the relationship between pain catastrophizing and depression was relatively stronger for young and middle-aged adults compared to older adults.Age-related differences in psychological mechanisms that influence pain-related functioning present unique challenges and opportunities for scientists and clinicians to improve our understanding and treatment of pain across the lifespan. Additional work is needed to refine our knowledge of age-related differences in cognitive-affective, biopsychosocial dimensions of chronic pain and to develop and test the efficacy of age-tailored interventions.

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This is an abstract of the clinical research article “Age differences in cognitive-affective processes in adults with chronic pain.” This clinical research article was published in the medical journal European journal of pain (London, England) on 2021-01-06 and has been categorised as belonging to the clinical specialty of Pain management. To read the full clinical research article or obtain a PDF (if available) use the links directly above. To discover more of the latest Pain management clinical research articles from the medical journal European journal of pain (London, England) please click the link below. For more of the latest Pain management research articles from other leading medical journals click the link that says Pain management next to the stethoscope icon at the top of the page. You can further filter clinical research articles by sub-specialties within Pain management using the navigation menu at the top of the page.