Pain characteristics of older persons with medically unexplained symptoms, older persons with medically explained symptoms and older persons with depression

Hanssen, D. J. C., Lucassen, P. L. B. J., Naarding, P., de Waal, M. W. M. & Oude Voshaar, R. C., 2-Dec-2018, In : AGING & MENTAL HEALTH. 22, 12, p. 1642-1649 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Objectives: The main objective of the current study is to compare chronic pain characteristics of older patients with Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS), to those of patients with Medically Explained Symptoms (MES), and to those of patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Method: By combining data from the OPUS and NESDO study, we compared pain characteristics of 102 older (>60 years) MUS-patients to 145 older MES-patients and 275 older MDD-patients in a case-control study design. Group differences were analyzed using ANCOVA, adjusted for demographic and physical characteristics. Linear regression was applied to examine the association between pain characteristics and somatization (BSI-53 somatization scale) and health anxiety (Whitely Index). Results: Older MUS-patients have approximately two times more chance of having chronic pain when compared to older MES-patients (OR = 2.01; p = .013) but equal chances as opposed to MDD-patients. After adjustments, MUS-patients report higher pain intensity and disability scores and more pain locations when compared to MES-patients, but equal values as MDD-patients. Health anxiety and somatization levels were positively associated with the number of pain sites in MUS-patients, but not with pain severity or disability. Conclusion: Older MUS-patients did not differ from MDD-patients with respect to any of the chronic pain characteristics, but had more intense and disabling pain, and more pain locations when compared to older MES-patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1642-1649
Number of pages8
Issue number12
Early online date11-Oct-2017
Publication statusPublished - 2-Dec-2018


  • Aged, chronic pain, medically unexplained symptoms, major depressive disorder, somatization, COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY, DISABILITY, INTERVIEW, ADULTS, MINI, LIFE, RELIABILITY, MANAGEMENT, ANXIETY, AGE

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