Masters Thesis

Coping Strategies among Obese Latinos with Chronic Pain

Having a better understanding of how Latinos with chronic pain and obesity cope with pain can be valuable for public health professionals in determining appropriate treatment with this at risk population. Although Latino adults are more likely to have higher levels of pain and pain intensity compared to non-Latino white adults, they are less likely to utilize pain medications. Beyond that, pain coping among Latinos is not well understood. Studies that have examined the types of coping strategies used for persistent pain found that religion and social support are among the most frequently used strategies among Latinos. However, studies on coping with pain using religion and social support have found mixed results on whether these methods are helpful. The objective of the present study was to learn whether religious beliefs and social support as coping strategies to manage chronic pain in low-income obese Latinos are beneficial or detrimental. The present investigation used secondary data from a study conducted by the Cal State Fullerton Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Center, which included about 100 adults ranging in age from 40 to 79 years old. Controlling for age, gender, BMI, and pain, a series of hierarchical linear regression analyses revealed that social support, but not religious coping, significantly predicts levels of depression and mental and physical functioning. In all cases, those with more support had better outcomes. Higher perceived social support could be a potential protective factor against depression and associated with better mental and physical health for individuals with chronic pain.


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