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Keywords:

  • Back Pain;
  • Behavior Therapy;
  • Disparities—Racial;
  • Elderly;
  • Exercise

Abstract

Objective.  Prior to testing the feasibility/potential efficacy of a newly developed self-management pain program for seniors with back pain, this study sought to: 1) determine prospective consumers' prior exposure to self-management pain programs, 2) determine their willingness to participate in the new program, and 3) ascertain perceived barriers/facilitators to program participation.

Design.  Cross-sectional survey.

Setting.  Six senior centers located in New York City.

Participants.  We enrolled a race/ethnicity stratified (African American, Hispanic, or non-Hispanic White) sample of 90 subjects who were ages 60 years or older and had chronic back pain.

Results.  While 60% of non-Hispanic Whites reported prior participation in a self-management pain program, fewer Hispanic (23%) and African Americans (20%) participants reported prior participation. Most participants (80%) were strongly willing to participate in the new program. Multivariate analyses revealed that only pain intensity had a trend toward significance (P = 0.07), with higher pain scores associated with greater willingness to participate. Few barriers to participation were identified, however, respondents felt that tailoring the course to best meet the needs of those with physical disabilities, providing flexibility in class timing, and informing individuals about program benefits prior to enrollment could help maximize program reach. No race/ethnicity differences were identified with respect to willingness to participate or program participation barriers.

Conclusions.  These data support efforts to disseminate self-management pain programs in older populations, particularly minority communities. The recommendations made by participants can help to guide implementation efforts of the newly developed pain program and may help to enhance both their reach and success.