Pain-related anxiety and opioid misuse in a racially/ethnically diverse young adult sample with moderate/severe pain

Pain problems are a significant public health problem, as they are related to increased healthcare cost, decreased productivity, and opioid misuse. With opioid-related problems and death due to overdose at an all-time high, there is significant public health importance to identify risk factors for opioid misuse among persons with moderate to severe pain. Severe pain and pain-related problems have been associated with increased risk for opioid misuse, and recent research indicates that pain-related anxiety (worry about the consequences of pain) may contribute to more debilitating pain experience. In terms of substance use generally, pain-related anxiety has previously been linked to cannabis and tobacco use, yet little research has examined pain-related anxiety in terms of opioid misuse. The current study examined the relationship between pain-related anxiety and opioid misuse in a racially/ethnically diverse sample (32.1% Hispanic, 20.2% Asian/Pacific Islander, 23% White, 10.8% Black, 5.5% other) of young adults reporting moderate to severe bodily pain. Findings from the current study suggest pain-related anxiety may be an important risk factor for opioid misuse and may be a pertinent assessment target for clinicians. Targeting pain-related anxiety may be one therapeutic strategy to reduce opioid misuse.

Read the full paper: Rogers, A. H., Bakhshaie, J., Lam, H., Langdon, K. J., Ditre, J. W., & Zvolensky, M. J. (in press). Pain-related anxiety and opioid misuse in a racially/ethnically diverse young adult sample with moderate/severe painCognitive Behaviour Therapy. doi:10.1080/16506073.2018.1436085

Andrew Rogers


Photo by: Katie Haugland Bowen

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