Responses to early-life adversity may differ by sex. We investigated the sex-specific impact of early-life adversity on chronic pain, chronic multisite pain, and somatizing tendency with chronic pain.
We examined 4229 respondents aged 20–79 years who participated in the Pain Associated Cross-Sectional Epidemiological Survey in Japan. Outcomes were: 1) chronic pain prevalence, 2) multisite pain (≥3 sites) prevalence, and 3) multiple somatic symptoms (≥3 symptoms) among respondents with chronic pain related to the presence or absence of early-life adversity.
Multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were calculated with 95% confidence intervals using a logistic regression model including age, smoking status, exercise routine, sleep time, body mass index, household expenditure, and the full distribution of scores on the Mental Health Inventory-5. We further adjusted for pain intensity when we analyzed the data for respondents with chronic pain.
The prevalence of chronic pain was higher among respondents reporting the presence of early-life adversity compared with those reporting its absence, with multivariable ORs of 1.62 (1.22–2.15, p<0.01) in men and 1.47 (1.13–1.90, p<0.01) in women. Among women with chronic pain, early-life adversity was associated with multisite pain and multiple somatic symptoms; multivariable ORs were 1.78 (1.22–2.60, p<0.01) for multisite pain and 1.89 (1.27–2.83, p<0.01) for ≥3 somatic symptoms. No associations were observed between early-life adversity and chronic multisite pain or multiple somatic symptoms among men with chronic pain.