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Open Access Research article

Socioeconomic conditions and number of pain sites in women

Toril Rannestad1 and Finn Egil Skjeldestad23*

  • * Corresponding author: Finn E Skjeldestad

Author Affiliations

1 Research Centre for Health Promotion and Resources HiST/NTNU, Sør-Trøndelag, University College, Faculty of Nursing, N-7004 Trondheim, Norway

2 Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, PO Box 4404, Nydalen 0403, Oslo, Norway

3 Women's Health and Perinatology Research Group, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromso, N-9038 Tromso, Norway

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BMC Women's Health 2012, 12:7  doi:10.1186/1472-6874-12-7

Published: 29 March 2012



Women in deprived socioeconomic situations run a high pain risk. Although number of pain sites (NPS) is considered highly relevant in pain assessment, little is known regarding the relationship between socioeconomic conditions and NPS.


The study population comprised 653 women; 160 recurrence-free long-term gynecological cancer survivors, and 493 women selected at random from the general population. Demographic characteristics and co-morbidity over the past 12 months were assessed. Socioeconomic conditions were measured by Socioeconomic Condition Index (SCI), comprising education, employment status, income, ability to pay bills, self-perceived health, and satisfaction with number of close friends. Main outcome measure NPS was recorded using a body outline diagram indicating where the respondents had experienced pain during the past week. Chi-square test and forward stepwise logistic regression were applied.

Results and Conclusion

There were only minor differences in SCI scores between women with 0, 1-2 or 3 NPS. Four or more NPS was associated with younger age, higher BMI and low SCI. After adjustment for age, BMI and co-morbidity, we found a strong association between low SCI scores and four or more NPS, indicating that there is a threshold in the NPS count for when socioeconomic determinants are associated to NPS in women.

Socioeconomic conditions; Number of pain sites/locations; Women; Co-morbidity; Cancer survivors