Prevalence and characteristics of chronic pain among long-term social assistance recipients compared to the general population in Norway

Clin J Pain. 2010 Sep;26(7):624-30. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e3181e0de43.


Objectives: Long-term social assistance recipients (LTRs) struggle with numerous health issues. However, no data are available on the prevalence of chronic pain in these individuals. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and characteristics of chronic pain (ie, pain >3 mo) among LTRs in Norway compared to the general population (GP).

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, which is part of a larger study that evaluated the health and functional abilities of LTRs in Norway, 405 LTRs of which 178 had chronic pain, were compared to a similar aged group (n=1455) from the general population. The LTRs were recruited from 14 of 433 municipalities.

Results: The LTRs were significantly younger (P<0.001), more likely to be male (P<0.001), and had less education (P<0.001) than the GP. The prevalence of chronic pain was significantly higher in the LTR sample (44.0%) compared to the GP sample (23.9%; P<0.001). A higher percentage of LTRs compared to the GP reported accidents (P=0.002) as the cause of their pain.

Discussion: The fact that 44.0% of the LTRs reported chronic pain, compared to only 23.9% of the GP suggests that chronic pain is a significant problem for LTRs in Norway. Additional research is warranted to determine the exact etiologies for and the impact of chronic pain on LTRs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Security*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires