This study evaluated the contributions of psychological status and cardiovascular responsiveness to racial/ethnic differences in experimental pain sensitivity. The baseline measures of 3,159 healthy individuals—non-Hispanic white (NHW): 1,637, African-American (AA): 1,012, Asian: 299, and Hispanic: 211—from the OPPERA prospective cohort study were used. Cardiovascular responsiveness measures and psychological status were included in structural equation modeling based mediation analyses. Pain catastrophizing was a significant mediator for the associations between race/ethnicity and heat pain tolerance, heat pain ratings, heat pain aftersensations, mechanical cutaneous pain ratings and aftersensations, and mechanical cutaneous pain temporal summation for both Asians and AAs compared to NHWs. HR/MAP index showed a significant inconsistent (mitigating) mediating effect on the association between race/ethnicity (AAs vs. NHWs) and heat pain tolerance. Similarly, coping inconsistently mediated the association between race/ethnicity and mechanical cutaneous pain temporal summation in both AAs and Asians, compared to NHWs. The factor encompassing depression, anxiety, and stress was a significant mediator for the associations between race/ethnicity (Asians vs. NHWs) and heat pain aftersensations. Thus, while pain catastrophizing mediated racial/ethnic differences in many of the QST measures, the psychological and cardiovascular mediators were distinctly restrictive, signifying multiple independent mechanisms in racial/ethnic differences in pain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)