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Global pain levels before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Macchia, Lucía, Delaney, Liam and Daly, Michael (2024) Global pain levels before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Economics and Human Biology, 52. ISSN 1570-677X

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.ehb.2023.101337


Physical pain has trended upward globally over the last decade. Here, we explore whether the COVID-19 pandemic modified this alarming trend. We used data from 146 countries worldwide (510,247 respondents) to examine whether pain levels changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adjusted regressions across countries revealed that 33.3% of people were in pain in 2019, 32.8% in 2020, 32.5% in 2021, and 34.1% in 2022. The change in pain from 2019 to each of the pandemic years was not statistically significant. This suggests that, on average, there was no significant change in pain during the pandemic. However, from 2019 to 2020 there was a significant decline in pain among individuals over 55 years of age, those who were widowed, and those without children in the household. On a global scale, the COVID-19 pandemic was not associated with a significant change in pain levels. The concerning pre-pandemic elevation in global pain continued during this challenging period.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2024 12:06
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 17:30

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