Date of Award

12-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Todd M. Moore

Committee Members

L. Christian Elledge, Kristina C. Gordon

Abstract

Evidence suggests that depression and anxiety may be related to pain medication use in a bidirectional manner. Understanding the relationship of these factors is of heightened importance due to the extensive use of long-term opioid pain medication therapy for treatment of adults suffering from chronic pain. The present study, utilizing a large longitudinal sample from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS), examined the relationship between depression, anxiety, gender, and pain medication usage in individuals with chronic pain over an almost 20-year span. Structural equation modeling found stability of depression and anxiety in individuals with chronic pain. It also appears that both anxiety and depression may have a bidirectional positive relationship in this population. As expected, pain medication use predicted later use at 10 years. Surprisingly, pain medication use was not strongly related to later negative affect in this sample. However, heightened anxiety was associated with later pain medication use. Gender effects were nonsignificant. Implications for those who are prescribed pain medications over a long term are discussed.

Comments

The MIDUS 1 study (National Survey of Midlife Development in the U.S.) was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Midlife Development. MIDUS 2 and 3 research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (P01-AG020166) to conduct a longitudinal follow-up of the MIDUS 1 investigation.

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