Racial differences in knee osteoarthritis pain: potential contribution of occupational and household tasks.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: We examined whether occupational and household tasks contributed to differences in pain between African Americans and whites with radiographic knee osteoarthritis (OA). METHODS: Participants from the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project self-reported the frequency (often/always vs never/seldom/sometimes) of performing 9 occupational tasks involving lower extremity joint loading at their longest job (N = 868) and current job (N = 273), as well as 8 household tasks ever performed (N = 811) and currently being performed (N = 767). The associations of the numbers of occupational or household tasks with the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain subscale were first examined in simple linear regression models. If significantly associated with greater pain, each of these was included in adjusted linear regression models to examine whether the association of race with pain remained statistically significant. RESULTS: African Americans reported significantly greater WOMAC pain scores than whites. Exposures to more occupational tasks at the longest job and the current job were associated with greater WOMAC pain scores (p < 0.01). The association of race with greater pain scores remained statistically significant when controlling for occupational tasks at the longest job, but was reduced by 26% and no longer significant when controlling for the number of current occupational tasks. Exposures to an increasing number of household tasks were associated with lower pain scores and were not further analyzed. CONCLUSION: Current performance of physically demanding occupational tasks contributed to racial differences in pain severity among individuals with knee OA. Better workplace policies to accommodate OA-related limitations may help to reduce racial differences in pain.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Allen, KD; Chen, J-C; Callahan, LF; Golightly, YM; Helmick, CG; Renner, JB; Schwartz, TA; Jordan, JM

Published Date

  • February 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 39 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 337 - 344

PubMed ID

  • 22133621

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4031236

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0315-162X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3899/jrheum.110040


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Canada