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Pain Intensity and Pain Interference in Male and Female Iraq/Afghanistan-era Veterans.

Naylor JC, Wagner HR, Johnston C, Elbogen EE, Brancu M, Marx CE, VA Mid-Atlantic MIRECC Work Group, VA Mid-Atlantic MIRECC Women Veterans Work Group, Strauss JL. Pain Intensity and Pain Interference in Male and Female Iraq/Afghanistan-era Veterans. Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. 2019 Jun 25; 29 Suppl 1:S24-S31.

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BACKGROUND: Chronic pain conditions are common among both male and female Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans and can have substantial negative impacts on quality of life and function. Although in general women tend to report higher levels of pain intensity than men, findings remain mixed on whether gender differences in pain exist in Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans. Additionally, the relationships between functional impairment, pain intensity, and gender remain unknown. METHODS: This project examined gender differences in pain intensity and pain interference in 875 male and female Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans. Nonparametric Wilcoxon rank-tests examined gender differences in pain scores. Multivariable generalized linear regression modeling was used to evaluate the magnitude of pain intensity and interference across levels of chronicity and gender, and to evaluate the role of chronicity in gender effects in measures of pain and function. RESULTS: Pain intensity and interference scores were significantly greater among both male and female veterans reporting chronic pain relative to acute pain. Women veterans endorsed higher levels of pain intensity and pain interference compared with men. Results derived from multivariable analyses implicated pain intensity as a factor underlying gender differences in functional impairment among chronic pain sufferers, indicating that gender differences in functional measures were eliminated after controlling statistically for pain intensity. CONCLUSIONS: Results demonstrate that the effects of functional impairment are impacted by pain intensity, and not by gender.

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