State-Level Policies May Reduce Disparities in Pain Prevalence Interview with:
Rui Huang MA

Department of Sociology
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY What is the background for this study?

Response: In the U.S., approximately 58.5 million people (23.7% of adults) have arthritis, and at least 15 million of them suffer from severe arthritis-attributable joint pain. Severe joint pain is strongly associated with impaired functioning, disability, mortality, and limited life chances. People with less education disproportionately suffer from joint pain and reduced quality of life.

However, existing research on social determinants of pain relies primarily on individual-level data; it rarely examines the role of macro sociopolitical contexts, such as state-level policies.  Moreover, relatively little is known about the geographic distribution of pain, and even less is known about geographic variation in socioeconomic disparities in pain. 

To our knowledge, this is the first study to look at how U.S. state-level policies and characteristics shape risk of pain, and educational disparities in pain.

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Chronic Pain Increasing in Every Age and Demographic Group Interview with:
Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
University at Buffalo, SUNY What is the background for this study?

Response: Although chronic pain is recognized as an extremely common and costly health problem, little research has explored temporal trends in pain prevalence.  Indeed, as recently as 5-6 years ago, there was no published research using general population data examining whether pain prevalence in the U.S. was going up, going down, or staying constant.  (This can be contrasted to conditions such as diabetes and cancer, for which information about long-term trends is readily available.  Of note, chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, cancer, and heart disease combined.)  In recent years, a few studies have documented rising pain prevalence in the U.S., but most have used data on middle-aged or older adults.

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