, Volume 18, Issue 8, pp 971-980,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 18 Aug 2009

The complexity of the relationship between chronic pain and quality of life: a study of the general Norwegian population

Abstract

Purpose

The aims of this paper were to evaluate the relationship between chronic pain and global quality of life (GQOL) and to explore the effect of possible confounders, mediators, and moderators such as selected demographic variables, chronic illnesses, stress-related symptoms, fatigue, and subjective health of the relationship between chronic pain and GQOL.

Methods

We used a cross-sectional design, including 1,893 respondents from a population of 4,000 of Norwegian citizens, aged 19–81 years, who were randomly drawn from the National Register by Statistics Norway in November 2000 (48.5%). Pain duration of more than 3 months was categorized as having chronic pain. The Quality of Life Scale, the Fatigue Severity Scale, and the Posttraumatic Stress Scale were used as our main dependent and independent variables, respectively. A series of multiple regression analyses (GLM in SPSS) were applied using GQOL as the dependent variable, entering subsets of independent variables in a theoretically predefined sequence.

Results

In the total model, there was no significant relationship between chronic pain and GQOL. The model explained 39% of the variance in GQOL. For direct effect sizes, stress-related symptoms were related most strongly to GQOL, followed by subjective health, fatigue, chronic illnesses, and selected demographic variables.

Conclusion

These findings support the assumption of a complex and indirect relationship between chronic pain and GQOL.