NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Steven J. Atlas

General Medicine Division
Massachusetts General Hospital
50 Staniford Street
Boston MA 02114

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2009Education and the Prevalence of Pain
with Jonathan S. Skinner: w14964
Many Americans report chronic and disabling pain, even in the absence of identifiable clinical disorders. We first examine the prevalence of pain in the older U.S. population using the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Among 50-59 year females, for example, pain rates ranged from 26 percent for college graduates to 55 percent for those without a high school degree. Occupation, industry, and marital status attenuated but did not erase these educational gradients. Second, we used a study of patients with lower back pain and sciatica arising from intervertebral disk herniation (IDH). Initially, nearly all patients reported considerable pain and discomfort, with a sizeable fraction undergoing surgery for their IDH. However, baseline severity measures and surgical or medical treatment e...

Published: Education and the Prevalence of Pain, Steven J. Atlas, Jonathan Skinner. in Research Findings in the Economics of Aging, Wise. 2010

 
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