Sexual and physical abuse in women with fibromyalgia

Association with outpatient health care utilization and pain medication usage

Ronald W. Alexander, Laurence A. Bradley, Graciela S. Alarcón, Mireya Triana-Alexander, Leslie A. Aaron, Kristin R. Alberts, Michelle Martin, Katharine E. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

137 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective. To evaluate the relationship between sexual and/or physical abuse and health care usage in patients with fibromyalgia (FM) and identify variables that may influence this relationship. Methods. We assessed history of sexual/physical abuse, health care utilization, and medication usage, as well as related variables in 75 women with FM using standardized questionnaires, structured interviews, and laboratory pain perception tasks. Results. Fifty-seven percent of FM patients reported a history of sexual/physical abuse. Compared to nonabused patients, abused patients reported significantly greater utilization of outpatient health care services for problems other than FM and greater use of medications for pain (P ≤ 0.025). Consistent with our expectations, abused patients also were characterized by significantly greater pain, fatigue, functional disability, and stress, as well as by a tendency to label dolorimeter stimuli as painful regardless of their intensities (P ≤ 0.05). Additional analyses suggested that the high frequency of sexual/physical abuse in our patients was associated primarily with seeking health care for chronic pain rather than the FM syndrome itself or genetic factors. Conclusion. There is an association in FM patients between sexual/physical abuse and increased use of outpatient health care services and medications for pain. This association may be influenced by clinical symptoms, functional disability, psychiatric disorders, stress, and abnormal pain perception. The relationships among these variables should be further tested in prospective, population-based studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-115
Number of pages14
JournalArthritis and Rheumatism
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

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Patient Acceptance of Health Care
Fibromyalgia
Sex Offenses
Ambulatory Care
Pain
Pain Perception
Delivery of Health Care
Physical Abuse
Chronic Pain
Fatigue
Psychiatry
Interviews

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rheumatology

Cite this

Alexander, R. W., Bradley, L. A., Alarcón, G. S., Triana-Alexander, M., Aaron, L. A., Alberts, K. R., ... Stewart, K. E. (1998). Sexual and physical abuse in women with fibromyalgia: Association with outpatient health care utilization and pain medication usage. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 11(2), 102-115. https://doi.org/10.1002/art.1790110206

Sexual and physical abuse in women with fibromyalgia : Association with outpatient health care utilization and pain medication usage. / Alexander, Ronald W.; Bradley, Laurence A.; Alarcón, Graciela S.; Triana-Alexander, Mireya; Aaron, Leslie A.; Alberts, Kristin R.; Martin, Michelle; Stewart, Katharine E.

In: Arthritis and Rheumatism, Vol. 11, No. 2, 01.01.1998, p. 102-115.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Alexander, RW, Bradley, LA, Alarcón, GS, Triana-Alexander, M, Aaron, LA, Alberts, KR, Martin, M & Stewart, KE 1998, 'Sexual and physical abuse in women with fibromyalgia: Association with outpatient health care utilization and pain medication usage', Arthritis and Rheumatism, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 102-115. https://doi.org/10.1002/art.1790110206
Alexander, Ronald W. ; Bradley, Laurence A. ; Alarcón, Graciela S. ; Triana-Alexander, Mireya ; Aaron, Leslie A. ; Alberts, Kristin R. ; Martin, Michelle ; Stewart, Katharine E. / Sexual and physical abuse in women with fibromyalgia : Association with outpatient health care utilization and pain medication usage. In: Arthritis and Rheumatism. 1998 ; Vol. 11, No. 2. pp. 102-115.
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