Positive Family Relationships May Protect Against Pain in Older Adults

Parent-child strain may contribute to risk of new pain over time
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FRIDAY, June 14, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Family support may protect against pain incidence and persistence among aging African Americans, according to a study published online May 20 in the Journals of Gerontology Series B.

Sara B. Woods, Ph.D., from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues examined how family relationships convey risk or resilience for pain outcomes for aging African Americans. Analysis included 755 African American participants in the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study and 2,585 in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS).

The researchers found that family support and average support were linked to decreased odds of pain incidence in MIDUS, but only when not accounting for strain. Parent-child strain was a risk factor for pain incidence in HRS, as was average strain. There was a protective effect of family support against pain persistence observed in MIDUS, while average support was linked to reduced odds of pain persisting in HRS.

"Chronic pain outcomes are worse for African Americans for a number of reasons, but parent-child strain may contribute to the risk of new pain developing over time for older adults," the authors write. "Conversely, family support may offer a protective benefit for pain incidence and persistence among aging African Americans. Findings implicate family relationships as a potential target of pain management interventions."

Abstract/Full Text

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