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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787


PEREIRA, Flávia Garcia et al. Prevalence and clinical profile of chronic pain and its association with mental disorders. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2017, vol.51, 96.  Epub Nov 17, 2017. ISSN 1518-8787.


To identify the prevalence of 12-month self-reported pain and chronic pain in a general population and to describe their clinical profile to assess if chronic pain is associated with 12-month mental disorders.


The data used comes from the São Paulo Megacity Mental Health Survey, a population-based study assessing adult (≥ 18 years) residents of the São Paulo metropolitan area, Brazil. We have assessed the respondents (n = 5,037) using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI 3.0), with a global response rate of 81.3%. Descriptive analyses have been performed, and crude and adjusted odds ratios (OR) have been calculated with logistic and multinomial regression and presented with respective 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).


The prevalence of pain and chronic pain in the past 12 months were 52.6% (95%CI 50.3–54.8) and 31.0% (95%CI 29.2–32.7), respectively. Joints (16.5%, 95%CI 15.4–17.5) and back or neck (15.5%, 95%CI 14.2–16.9) were the most frequently reported anatomical sites of chronic pain. On a 10-point analogue scale, the mean intensity of the worst pain was 7.7 (95%CI 7.4–7.8), and the mean average pain was 5.5 (95%CI 5.2–5.6); the mean treatment response was 6.3 (95%CI 6.0–6.6). Mean pain duration was 16.1 (95%CI 15.6–17.0) days a month and 132 (95%CI 126–144) minutes a day. Chronic pain was associated with 12-month DSM-IV mental disorders (OR = 2.7, 95%CI 2.3–3.3), anxiety disorders (OR = 2.1, 95%CI 1.9–3.0), and mood disorders (OR = 3.3, 95%CI 2.4–4.1).


A high prevalence of chronic pain in multiple sites is observed among the general adult population, and associations between chronic pain and mental disorders are frequent.

Keywords : Chronic Pain, epidemiology; Mental Disorders, epidemiology; Comorbidity; Health Surveys.

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