Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 53 Number 1, 2016
   Pages 83 — 94

Abstract — Sex differences between Veterans participating in interdisciplinary chronic pain rehabilitation

Jennifer L. Murphy, PhD;1–2* Kristin M. Phillips, PhD;1 Samantha Rafie, PhD1

1James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital, Tampa, FL; 2University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Abstract — The improved management of pain among the growing number of female Veterans receiving care through the Veterans Health Administration has been established as a priority, but studies suggest that females may respond differently to pain treatment. This study explored differences between female and male Veterans engaged in a Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program and determined how female and male Veterans change following participation. Veterans (N = 324) in a 3 wk inpatient program completed self-report measures at admission, discharge, and 3 mo follow-up. Participants were 21% female (n = 67) and 79% male (n = 257). Compared with males, females were younger and less likely to be white or married/partnered. Females reported shorter pain duration and were more likely to have primary head or limb pain. At admission, fewer females were prescribed opioids than males and at lower doses. After opioid cessation in the program, however, there were no significant differences in use between the sexes at follow-up. Improvements in a range of domains were sustained at follow-up for both sexes, but females did not maintain gains in pain intensity or sleep while males reported more pain-related fear at discharge and follow-up. This study adds to the literature on sex-specific variations in chronic pain and implications for treatment.

Key words: chronic pain, females, gender, interdisciplinary treatment, multidisciplinary treatment, noncancer pain, opioids, pain rehabilitation, sex differences, treatment outcomes, Veterans, women.

View HTML ¦ View PDF ¦ Contents Vol. 53, No.1

This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Murphy JL, Phillips KM, Rafie S. Sex differences between Veterans participating in interdisciplinary chronic pain rehabilitation. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2016;53(1):83–94.

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