Childhood adversities and adult-onset chronic pain: Results from the World Mental Health Survey, Japan

Eur J Pain. 2015 Nov;19(10):1418-27. doi: 10.1002/ejp.672. Epub 2015 Mar 2.


Background: Childhood adversities (CAs) have been associated with adult-onset chronic pain. However, to date, most single country studies on this association have been undertaken in Western countries. This study examined the association in Japan where information is scarce.

Methods: Data were drawn from the World Mental Health Survey Japan, a population-based cross-sectional survey undertaken in 11 areas of Japan in 2002-2006. We analyzed data from adults aged ≥20 years who provided information on CAs occurring before age 18 years and chronic pain (n = 1740). Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate the risk for different forms of adult-onset chronic pain (arthritis/rheumatism, neck/back pain, headache and any pain) as a function of the presence of 11 different types of CA and the number of CAs.

Results: In the adjusted models, significant associations were observed between: physical abuse and neck/back pain (HR 2.55) and any pain (HR 1.88); sexual abuse and any pain (HR 2.84). Significant dose-dependent relationships were also observed between a greater number of CAs and some adult-onset chronic pain conditions (neck/back and any pain).

Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that in Japan, some forms of CA may be associated with certain types of adult-onset chronic pain, in particular neck/back pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adult Survivors of Child Adverse Events / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Chronic Pain / epidemiology*
  • Chronic Pain / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Surveys / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult