Socioeconomic conditions and number of pain sites in women

BMC Womens Health. 2012 Mar 29;12:7. doi: 10.1186/1472-6874-12-7.


Background: Women in deprived socioeconomic situations run a high pain risk. Although number of pain sites (NPS) is considered highly relevant in pain assessment, little is known regarding the relationship between socioeconomic conditions and NPS.

Methods: The study population comprised 653 women; 160 recurrence-free long-term gynecological cancer survivors, and 493 women selected at random from the general population. Demographic characteristics and co-morbidity over the past 12 months were assessed. Socioeconomic conditions were measured by Socioeconomic Condition Index (SCI), comprising education, employment status, income, ability to pay bills, self-perceived health, and satisfaction with number of close friends. Main outcome measure NPS was recorded using a body outline diagram indicating where the respondents had experienced pain during the past week. Chi-square test and forward stepwise logistic regression were applied.

Results and conclusion: There were only minor differences in SCI scores between women with 0, 1-2 or 3 NPS. Four or more NPS was associated with younger age, higher BMI and low SCI. After adjustment for age, BMI and co-morbidity, we found a strong association between low SCI scores and four or more NPS, indicating that there is a threshold in the NPS count for when socioeconomic determinants are associated to NPS in women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pain / economics
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Class*
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data*