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Approved Research

The relationship between anxiety diagnosis, childhood adversity, and the experience of chronic pain (in adults)

Principal Investigator: Mrs Danielle Dalechek
Approved Research ID: 75848
Approval date: February 24th 2022

Lay summary

The objective of this project is to investigate the relationship between anxiety diagnosis and childhood adversity on chronic pain experience in adulthood. Without insight into the underlying permanent changes and dysfunction that may occur biologically and at the neurophysiological level, treatment options and success of treatment will continue to lack and outcomes will remain poor.

This project will be completed in an online, electronic setting for the systematic literature review portion, utilizing existing literature and data from PubMed: Medline, PsychInfo, PsychARTICLES; Embase. I will search for articles focused on childhood adversity, trauma outcomes, comorbidities, chronic disease, adverse childhood experiences, neurophysiology of anxiety, and neuroanatomical changes due to trauma.

The database intended for primary use in the analysis portion is the UK Biobank data. The UK Biobank holds an unprecedented amount of data on half a million participants aged 40-69 years (with a roughly even number of men and women) recruited between 2006 and 2010 throughout the UK. Datasets span from genetics, self-reported medical outcomes, mental health, and more. Data analysis for this project will be performed via a two-way analysis of variance.

Predicted time range is dependent upon successful access to datasets, but the projected timeframe should be between July of 2021 and December of 2022. Analysis, review, and reporting will occur over the next one to two years, with a max end date of December 2024.

Health care providers and educators should understand how deeply into general health and life quality the effects of anxiety and chronic pain can be, especially when compounded by the experience of adverse childhood experiences. Patients who are in chronic pain often struggle with daily life and social activity, which are often seen as a result of anxiety. The two have a complex relationship, and if our study provides statistical correlation, this could be targeted directly, hopefully leading to better patient treatment options, higher quality of life despite the chronic pain, and lower costs annually.