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Original Research

Pain Complaints in Latino Adults of Mexican Origin With and Without Major Depressive Episode: A Cross-Sectional Study

Steven C. Dilsaver Franco Benazzi J. Sloan Manning Kareen K. Akiskal Hagop S. Akiskal

Published: June 16, 2008

Article Abstract

Background: The aim of this retrospective, cross-sectional study was to determine the prevalence of 5 pain complaints among Latino adults of Mexican origin meeting the criteria for major depressive episode (MDE).

Method: In a mental health clinic for the indigent, consecutively evaluated Latino adults of Mexican origin received structured diagnostic psychiatric interviews based on modules extracted from the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders-Clinical Version. All were specifically asked whether they had experienced headache, backache, abdominal pain, myalgia, or arthralgia “in the last week.” Patients meeting the criteria for MDE were compared to patients without MDE from the same clinic. Associations and statistical significance of the differences between groups were determined using logistic regression models. The data were collected between August 2003 and November 2004.

Results: Two hundred ten patients had an MDE, and 35 individuals without an MDE comprised the comparison group. Eighty-eight percent of the patients with MDE versus 53% of the controls had at least 1 pain complaint (p < .0001). Patients with MDE were 8.3 times more likely to have 1 or more pain complaints than the comparison patients (p = 2, >= 3, and >= 4 pain complaints. Twenty-eight percent of the MDE subjects had all 5 pain complaints compared to 3% of subjects without MDE (p = .013).

Conclusions: The method of assessment of the presence of pain led to the detection of a remarkably high prevalence of pain complaints. The findings presented have important implications not only for the practice of those who are widely recognized as being primary care physicians but also for practitioners of all clinical disciplines.

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