| geriatric pain management

The Relationship of Fear and Pain

Aging and Fear/Anxiety of Pain

Pain is affected by fear and anxiety about pain. How does that relationship change over the span of a life? The abstract of an article in the Pain Medicine journal states that "Nociception and pain history differ depending on age, yet little empirical evidence exists on how fear of pain varies over the life span." The study reported in the journal examined the relationships, over a life span, between fear of pain, anxiety about pain, and aging. Over 4,000 people completed a Fear of Pain Questionnaire-9, and their answers were analyzed by researchers.

Results showed that "A positive linear association was discovered between age and fear of severe or minor pain, and a negative association was discovered between age and fear of medical or dental pain." Because as we age and experience more medical/dental exposure, the more we aware of having to experience pain later in life. Fully understanding the associations between painboth its affective and physiological aspectsand the predictive power of the influence fear and anxiety have over pain, may help practitioners to work with patients across a life span.


Access the journal article.