Chronic pain in later life women: issues and challenges from the research literature.
Because research on chronic pain in older adults comes from many disciplines, existing information about geriatric pain is widely scattered. In order to establish a foundation from which to construct future research and interventions for older women and men, we developed a comprehensive, multidisciplinary database of the chronic pain and aging literature published between 1990 and 1998. We searched 10 electronic databases that index scientific journals and found 302 articles that focused on chronic pain in later life. Given the disproportionately high number of women in many of the study samples, gender comparisons were not always statistically feasible. Because a limited number of studies reported sex differences in older adults, it is difficult to determine whether older women's experiences with chronic pain are unique and require special attention from health care providers or whether the causes, treatments, and consequences of chronic pain should be considered universal to the older-population as a whole.
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