Phantom Limb Pain and Pain Interference in Adults With Lower Extremity Amputation: The Moderating Effects of Age


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Abstract

Purpose/ObjectiveTo determine whether the relationship between phantom limb pain severity and pain-related interference was moderated by age and to compare 2 theoretical perspectives used in the literature to account for age-related differences in the experience of chronic pain.Research Method/DesignAnalysis of survey data provided by 375 adults with lower extremity amputations who reported phantom limb pain.ResultsThe relationship between phantom limb pain severity and pain-related interference was shown to be moderated by age (β = –.10, p < .05), such that pain predicted interference only in younger adults (β = .44, p < .01). Analysis of age group differences in interference by pain level revealed a large effect when pain was moderate/severe (Cohen's d = 1.23) but not when pain was mild/moderate (Cohen's d = 0.04). Finally, time since amputation emerged as a significant predictor of pain interference above and beyond chronological age.Conclusions/ImplicationsThese data suggest that the pain/interference relationship is weaker in older persons, particularly at higher levels of pain. This phenomenon may be driven primarily by temporal experience with pain.

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