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20.06.2017 | original article | Ausgabe 1-2/2018 Open Access

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 1-2/2018

How are socio-demographic and psycho-social factors associated with the prevalence and chronicity of severe pain in 14 different body sites? A cross-sectional population-based survey

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 1-2/2018
MD, MPH Assoc. Prof. Thomas Ernst Dorner, Katharina Viktoria Stein, Julia Hahne, Florian Wepner, Martin Friedrich, Ellenor Mittendorfer-Rutz



Severe pain and chronic pain have a high impact on individuals and society. Body location of pain is important with regard to perception, articulation, and underlying biological, mental or social causes of pain.


A cross-sectional survey was performed in the general Austrian population with 15,474 personally interviewed subjects aged 15 years and older.


The 1‑year period prevalence of severe pain in any body site was 38.6% and of chronic pain 24.9%. In all, 8.1% had pain in at least three body sites. Subjects aged 65 years and older (52.2%), those with low education (43.4%), unemployed subjects (50.4%), retired subjects (52.4%), those with anxiety/depression (67.7%), and subjects with lack of social support (49.6%) were sub-populations with high pain prevalence. In multivariate analyses, depression/anxiety was associated with prevalence and chronicity of severe pain in all body sites (range of ORs 1.89–5.01), while such associations were found for lack of social support (range of ORs 1.33–1.65), female sex (range of ORs 1.38–2.34), higher age (range of ORs 1.09–1.18 for 5 year intervals), as well as low educational (range of ORs 1.47–2.06 primary vs. tertiary education) and unemployment status (range of ORs 1.50–2.62) in most body sites. Being born in non-EU or EFTA states was associated with pain in many body sites (range of ORs 1.38–2.10).


Psychosocial factors are associated with pain presence in similar ways irrespective of location. Regarding socio-demographic factors, differences towards the magnitude and the direction in the association with pain frequency and chronicity in different body sites emerged.

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