Life-course influences on chronic pain in adults

Gary J. Macfarlane*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter reviews the evidence to date on whether events early in life can exert influences on the reporting of chronic pain in adulthood. The study of the role of early-life events, with respect to pain in adulthood, is relatively new. Nevertheless, prospective studies have demonstrated an association between some events early in life and the report of chronic pain in adulthood. These events include hospitalization for a motor vehicle accident and separation from one's mother. The report (by the mother) of childhood common symptoms is also a marker for persons who are more likely to report chronic pain as an adult. Thus, having established that there is a link between experiences and the experience of pain across the life-course, the usefulness of these observations needs to be determined in terms of understanding the biological mechanisms linking these.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChronic Pain Epidemiology
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Aetiology to Public Health
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
ISBN (Electronic)9780191594816
ISBN (Print)9780199235766
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Adult pain
  • Childhood pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Early life
  • Epidemiology
  • Life course


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