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Epidemiology and Health 2021;e2021058.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2021058    [Accepted] Published online Sep 7, 2021.
Pain and mortality among older adults in Korea
Chiil Song  , Wankyo Chung 
Graduated School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
Correspondence  Wankyo Chung ,Tel: +82-2-880-2285, Email: wankyo@snu.ac.kr
Received: May 28, 2021  Accepted after revision: Sep 7, 2021
With the rising elderly population subject to chronic disease, pain becomes crucial to understand and design an appropriate approach to it. While pain is a noted mortality risk factor, limited studies exists due to various causes of pain and subjectivity of pain expression. This study aims to examine the relationship between pain and mortality, controlling for other disease and socio-cultural factors.
We used 6,258 community-dwelling individuals aged 45 years or older – population with highest prevalence of pain, using the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (2006-2016) data and the Cox proportional-hazards model. Further subgroup analyses were conducted by gender and education level to examine differences in the relationship between pain and mortality.
The adjusted hazard ratios of mortality were 1.16 (95%CI: 1.00-1.34, Model 1) and 1.12 (95%CI: 0.97-1.29, Model 2) for the individuals in pain depending on the models used, where additional socio-cultural factors were accounted for in Model 2. Importantly, for individuals in severe pain, they were significantly higher with 1.23 (95%CI: 1.08-1.41, Model 1) and 1.16 (95%CI: 1.02-1.32, Model 2). Further subgroup analyses showed that while both male and more educated individuals were less likely to report pain, their severe pain were more associated with mortality, for example 1.29 (95%CI: 1.08-1.55, Model 2) for male and 1.62 (95%CI: 1.15-2.28, Model 2) for more educated individuals.
Pain showed a statistically significant relationship with the mortality risk. Family members or medical staff need to pay proper attention to it, especially severe pain from male and highly educated individuals.
Keywords: Pain; Mortality; Proportional Hazards Models; Korea


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