The Relation of Pain and Depression With Various Health-Promoting Behaviors in African American Elders

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Purpose/ObjectiveIn this study, the authors investigated how presence of pain interferes with various health behaviors in a sample of urban African American elders, examining depression as a potential mediator.Research Method/Design74 African Americans over the age of 60 years and residing in Detroit participated in both self-report questionnaires and physical performance measures. Regression analyses were used to determine the effect of pain interference on health behaviors, and partial correlations were used to determine whether depression mediated the relations.ResultsThe authors found that pain interference was significantly related to physical functioning and frequency of aerobic exercise. The latter relation (pain interference and frequency of exercise) was partially mediated by depression.Conclusions/ImplicationsGiven these findings, the effect of pain interference on health behaviors is neither simple nor direct, and depression may be a key variable. Identification and treatment of pain and depression in older persons may reduce physical impairment and health care costs.

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