General and disease-specific pain trajectories as predictors of social and political outcomes in arthritis and cancer

James, Richard J.E. and Walsh, David A. and Ferguson, Eamonn (2018) General and disease-specific pain trajectories as predictors of social and political outcomes in arthritis and cancer. BMC Medicine, 16 . 51/1-51/14. ISSN 1741-7015

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While the heterogeniety of pain progression has been studied in chronic diseases, it is unclear the extent to which patterns of pain progression among people in general as well as across different diseases impacts on social, civic and political engagement. We explore these issues for the first time.


Using data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, latent class growth models were used to estimate trajectories of self-reported pain in the entire cohort, and within subsamples reporting diagnoses of arthritis and cancer. These were compared at baseline on physical health (e.g., BMI, smoking) and over time on social, civic and political engagement.


Very similar four trajectory models fit the whole sample and arthritis subsamples, whereas a three trajectory model fit the cancer subsample. All samples had a modal group experiencing minimal chronic pain, and a group with high chronic pain that showed slight regression (more pronounced in cancer). Biometric indices were more predictive of the most painful trajectory in arthritis than cancer. In both samples the group experiencing the most pain at baseline reported impairments in social, civic and political engagement.


The impact of pain differs between individuals and between diseases. Indicators of physical and psychological health differently predicted membership of the trajectories most affected by pain. These trajectories were associated with differences in engagement with social and civic life, which in turn was associated with poorer health and well-being.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Pain; arthritis; cancer; social engagement; voting; longitudinal
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: Ferguson, Eamonn
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2018 14:12
Last Modified: 08 May 2020 12:00

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