OBJECTIVE: To establish if there is any gender difference in associations between chronic pain, impact of pain and pain severity with physical disability.
METHODS: Data from the New South Wales Older People's Health Survey (OPHS), a population based survey of 8881 older people aged 65 years and above were used in the analysis. Chronic pain, pain with interference and pain severity and outcome variable of physical disability were all measured and determined by self report.
RESULTS: Physical disability were more frequent in respondents reporting chronic pain, pain that interferes with activities and pain that was of moderate and strong to severe severity. Chronic pain was significantly associated with physical disability among men with adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) 1.31 (95% CI 1.19, 1.43) and women with adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) 1.34 (95% CI 1.28, 1.42). The relationships between pain with interference and pain severity with physical disability were similar in older men and older women. However, adjustment for psychological distress and self-rated health led to greater reductions in prevalence ratios for older men than women for all associations.
CONCLUSION: There is no gender difference in associations between pain and physical disability among older people. However, psychological distress accounted for more pain-related physical disability in men than in women. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.