Family dysfunction is associated with chronic pain in a community-dwelling Japanese population: The Hisayama study

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Background: Poor family functioning has been reported to be associated with the severity of chronic pain in outpatients, but the association has not been fully addressed in general populations. The present study aimed to examine the association between family dysfunction levels and the presence of chronic pain in a community-dwelling Japanese population. Methods: A total of 2598 participants aged ≥40 years were classified as having healthy, borderline or unhealthy family functioning. Chronic pain was defined as subjective pain for three months or longer, and further classified by pain intensity, the number of chronic pain sites, pain duration and the extent of pain spread. A logistic regression model was used to compute the odds ratios (ORs) for chronic pain outcomes. Results: The prevalence of chronic pain was 49%. The age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of total and severe chronic pain were increased significantly with increasing family dysfunction levels (all p for trend <0.01). After adjusting for sociodemographic, physical, social and family structure factors, the ORs (95% confidence intervals [CI]) for having chronic pain among borderline and unhealthy groups were 1.20 (1.01–1.44) and 1.43 (1.15–1.79), respectively, as compared with a healthy family function group. The association was stronger among people who were employed and those who were living with their children. In addition, the ORs for severe chronic pain increased significantly with increasing levels of family dysfunction. Conclusions: The family dysfunction level was positively associated with the presence as well as the severity of chronic pain in a community-dwelling population. Significance: A biopsychosocial burden due to family relationships could worsen the clinical presentation of pain. Social support or family therapy for dysfunctional families would be a potential initiative for the prevention or management of chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-529
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain (United Kingdom)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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