The impact of pain on psychological functioning in women with AIDS
Stein, Kelly A.
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This study investigated the impact of pain on the psychological functioning and quality of life in women with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Past research has demonstrated a high prevalence of psychological distress among individuals infected with HIV. Additionally, research with both cancer and AIDS patients has demonstrated that patients with pain have significantly poorer quality of life than patients without pain. Other research describes a general pain-depression relationship, and although a small number of studies have examined this relationship among men with HIV/AIDS, no previous research has investigated the impact of pain on psychological functioning in women with AIDS.;Ambulatory AIDS patients were recruited from the New York City area, without regard to the presence of pain. Interviews were conducted to elicit demographic, AIDS-related medical treatment and pain information. Patients were assessed twice over a four month interval. Patients with and without pain were administered a packet of questionnaires assessing physical and psychological symptoms, social support and quality of life. Patients who experienced pain in the previous two weeks were given the Brief Pain Inventory in addition to the other measures.;Analysis of variance revealed that the presence of pain was significantly associated with scores on three measures of psychological distress and a measure of quality of life, even with sociodemographic and medical variables included in the analyses. Increased pain intensity was correlated with the measure quality of life, but not with the psychological distress measures. Increased pain intensity was not a significant predictor of increased psychological distress. Analysis of variance revealed that change in overall levels of distress differed significantly across the four pain categories established at follow-up. Paired samples t-tests revealed a decrease in psychological distress for the groups which had continuous pain or were relieved of their pain. Multiple regression analyses revealed that change in pain intensity was not a significant predictor of change in the set of distress variables. Measures of disease progression were not related to levels of distress. This study elucidates the psychological sequelae of AIDS pain in women.
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