Physical Pains Could Be Caused By Poverty, Increasing Financial Insecurity

Posted: Feb 22 2016, 8:50am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Poverty and body pain
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It is bad enough to be poor, but researchers have now also linked poverty with physical pains and other body discomforts, saying increasing financial insecurity has a role to play in the amount and type of physical pains people experience on daily basis.

This is according to a study titled "Economic Insecurity Increases Physical Pain" and published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The research was led by Eileen Chou of the University of Virginia and colleagues Bidhan Parmer of the University of Virginia and Adam Galinsky of Columbia University.

"Overall, our findings reveal that it physically hurts to be economically insecure," said lead study author Chou. "Results from six studies establish that economic insecurity produces physical pain, reduces pain tolerance, and predicts over-the-counter painkiller consumption."

The study team simultaneously analyzed increasing economic insecurity and increasing complaints of physical pain – two trends that have been observed to occur at nearly the same time – prompting researchers to try to establish a link between the two. The authors of the study say feelings of lack make people to experience lack of control over their lives, thereby activating psychological processes associated with fear, stress, and anxiety.

A 2008 study of 33,720 individuals found that families with no current employment spent 20% more on painkillers against families with only one partner working and the other unemployed. Another study of 187 participants revealed that the participants bought more over-the-counter painkillers when their finances were bad than when they had stable jobs with better economic indices.

The study also showed that participants were able to manage physical pain when they felt financially in control of their lives, establishing a link between economic insecurity and feelings of pain and loss of control over things physical and material.

"By showing that physical pain has roots in economic insecurity and feelings of lack of control, the current findings offer hope for short-circuiting the downward spiral initiated by economic insecurity and producing a new, positive cycle of well-being and pain-free experience," the researchers conclude.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/52" rel="author">Charles I. Omedo</a>
Charles is covering the latest discoveries in science and health as well as new developments in technology. He is the Chief Editor or Intel-News.




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