Rates and Correlates of Unemployment Across Four Common Chronic Pain Diagnostic Categories

J Occup Rehabil. 2015 Sep;25(3):648-57. doi: 10.1007/s10926-015-9572-7.


Purpose: To examine rates and correlates of unemployment across distinct common chronic pain diagnoses.

Methods: Data were analyzed from a sample of 2,382 patients with chronic pain in the Quebec Pain Registry (QPR). Patients were grouped into the following diagnostic categories based on their primary pain diagnosis recorded in the QPR: musculoskeletal pain; myofascial pain; neuropathic pain, and visceral pain. Analyses were performed to examine the associations between pain diagnosis, patient demographics, pain intensity, depressive symptoms, and unemployment status.

Results: Pain diagnosis, age, marital status, education, pain intensity, and depressive symptoms were each significant unique predictors of unemployment status in a hierarchical logistic regression analysis; the addition of depressive symptoms in this model contributed to the greatest increment of model fit.

Conclusions: Depressive symptoms are associated with unemployment across a number of common chronic pain conditions, even when controlling for other factors that are associated with unemployment in these patients. Depressive symptoms, as a modifiable factor, may thus be an important target of intervention for unemployed patients with chronic pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Chronic Pain / diagnosis
  • Chronic Pain / epidemiology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Educational Status
  • Facial Pain / diagnosis
  • Facial Pain / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / diagnosis
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / epidemiology
  • Neuralgia / diagnosis
  • Neuralgia / epidemiology
  • Quebec / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Unemployment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Visceral Pain / diagnosis
  • Visceral Pain / epidemiology
  • Young Adult