Seniors Have Higher Pain Tolerance

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A study, reported in a special issue of Pain Medicine (January 2005), found that adults under the age of 50 with chronic pain may have more difficulty handling their condition, compared with their elders. The researchers also found that individuals under the age 50 experience depression associated with pain. The generation gap is found in both African Americans and Caucasians. African Americans of all ages, however, appeared to experience more pain and pain-related negative effects, compared with Caucasians.

During the 8-year study, the researchers analyzed data on 5823 African Americans and Caucasians. The participants were divided into 2 groups: under 50 and 50 and older. In general, the study showed that African Americans scored higher than Caucasians on measurements of pain intensity, disability related to their pain, and depression symptoms. The researchers concluded that the findings are consistent with past studies on pain that evaluated racial differences in chronic pain experience.