Coping with chronic pain among younger, middle-aged, and older adults living with neurological injury and disease

Ivan Molton, Mark P. Jensen, Dawn M. Ehde, Gregory T. Carter, George Kraft, Diana D. Cardenas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


Objective: This article compares use of pain coping strategies among older, middle-aged, and younger adults living with chronic pain and seeks to determine whether the relationship between pain severity and coping is moderated by age. Method: Participants were 464 adults reporting chronic pain secondary to multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, or neuromuscular disease. Participants completed a survey including measures of pain severity and the Chronic Pain Coping Inventory. Results: After controlling for clinical and demographic variables, older adults (older than 60) reported a wider range of frequently used strategies and significantly more frequent engagement in activity pacing, seeking social support, and use of coping self-statements than did younger or middle-aged adults. Moderation analyses suggest that, for younger adults, efforts at coping generally increased with greater pain severity, whereas this relationship did not exist for older adults. Discussion: These data suggest differences in the quantity and quality of pain coping among age groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)972-996
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • Chronic pain
  • MS
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Older adults
  • SCI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Community and Home Care

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