SBUMC RESEARCHER: MORE THAN 25 PERCENT OF AMERICANS EXPERIENCE PAIN, BASED ON NOVEL COMMUNITY-BASED DIARY-SURVEY
Findings drawn from 3,982 telephone interviews reported in The Lancet
STONY BROOK, N.Y., May 1, 2008 – Based on a random survey of nearly 4,000 respondents in the United States, Arthur A. Stone, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University, and Alan Krueger, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Economics and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, report than more than 25 percent of American men and women experience daily pain. The researchers also report strong connections between the experience of pain and levels of income and education. Their study results appear in the May 3 issue of The Lancet.
The research is premised on evidence that people in the United States spend very large amounts of money for relief of pain. In fact, the authors note that more than $2 billion to $6 billion was spent on non-prescription analgesics in the U.S. in 2007. They said that pain is also a major reason for seeking medical care and purchasing prescriptive medicine. In addition, decreased labor force participation is “estimated to cost over $60 billion a year in lost productivity.”
“Although much is known about the pain experienced by those with chronic illnesses, until now relatively little was known about pain in the entire U.S. population,” says Dr. Stone. “Our assessment approach allowed us to get accurate information about pain at several carefully selected times from the previous day,” explains Dr. Stone, which enabled the researchers to address several new questions about pain, daily activities, and respondents’ personal characteristics.
Drs. Stone and Krueger conducted a community-based telephone survey via random-digit dialing to contact more than 10,000 people. In total, the researchers interviewed 3,982 people. The diary-survey involved phoning respondents and asking them to reconstruct the previous day. Three episodes from that day were randomly selected …