Pain Intensity Moderates the Relationship Between Age and Pain Interference in Chronic Orofacial Pain Patients

Ian A. Boggero, Paul J. Geiger, Suzanne C. Segerstrom, Charles R. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background/Study Context: Chronic pain is associated with increased interference in daily functioning that becomes more pronounced as pain intensity increases. Based on previous research showing that older adults maintain well-being in the face of pain as well as or better than their younger counterparts, the current study examined the interaction of age and pain intensity on interference in a sample of chronic orofacial pain patients. Methods: Data were obtained from the records of 508 chronic orofacial pain patients being seen for an initial evaluation from 2008 to 2012. Collected data included age (range: 18-78) and self-reported measures of pain intensity and pain interference. Bivariate correlations and regression models were used to assess for statistical interactions. Results: Regression analyses revealed that pain intensity positively predicted pain interference (R2 =.35, B = 10.40, SE = 0.62, t(507) = 16.70, p <.001). A significant interaction supported the primary hypothesis that aging was associated with reduced interference at high levels of pain intensity (ΔR2 =.01, B = -1.31, SE = 0.63, t(505) = -2.90, p =.04). Conclusion: At high levels of pain intensity, interference decreased with age, although the age by pain intensity interaction effect was small. This evidence converges with aging theories, including socioemotional selectivity theory, which posits that as people age, they become more motivated to maximize positive emotions and minimize negative ones. The results highlight the importance of studying the mechanisms older adults use to successfully cope with pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-474
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 8 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2015 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (all)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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