Chronic Pain Disparity Seen Among Some Sexual Minority Populations

Adults identifying as bisexual or 'something else' have highest prevalence of chronic pain
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

THURSDAY, May 11, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Sexual minority adults who identify as bisexual or "something else" have a significantly higher prevalence of chronic pain than gay/lesbian or straight adults, according to a study published online March 30 in PAIN.

Anna Zajacova, Ph.D., from the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, and colleagues assessed chronic pain prevalence among sexual minority U.S. adults who self-identify as gay/lesbian, bisexual, or "something else." The analysis included adults (aged 18 to 64 years) with general chronic pain (134,266 patients) or chronic pain in three or more sites (95,675 patients).

The researchers found that Americans who self-identify as bisexual or "something else" have the highest general chronic pain prevalence (23.7 and 27.0 percent, respectively) versus 21.7 percent among gay/lesbian adults and 17.2 percent among straight adults. Disparities are even larger for people with pain in three or more sites, with age-adjusted prevalence more than twice as high among adults who self-identify as bisexual or "something else" and 50 percent higher among gay/lesbian versus straight adults. Socioeconomic status and health care variables explained only a modest proportion of these disparities, while psychological distress was the most salient correlate with disparities.

"Findings thus indicate that even in an era of meaningful social and political advances, sexual minority American adults have significantly more chronic pain than their straight counterparts," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text

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