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The effect of chronic pain on life satisfaction: Evidence from Australian data

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  • McNamee, Paul
  • Mendolia, Silvia

Abstract

Chronic pain is associated with significant costs to individuals directly affected by this condition, their families, the healthcare system, and the society as a whole. This paper investigates the relationship between chronic pain and life satisfaction using a sample of around 90,000 observations from the first ten waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics of Australia Survey (HILDA), which is a representative survey of the Australian population that started in 2000. We estimate the negative impact on life satisfaction and examine the persistence of the effect over multiple years. Chronic pain is associated with poor health conditions, disability, decreased participation in the labour market and lower quality of life. We calculate the compensating income variation of chronic pain, based on the measurement of chronic pain, the life satisfaction of individuals and the income of households. Panel data models with random and fixed effects are used to control for characteristics of individuals that do not vary over time. Further, we investigate whether individuals who experience chronic pain exhibit adaptation and recovery in life satisfaction after 3 years. Overall, we find that chronic pain has a large negative association with life satisfaction, and that the compensating income variation is substantial (around 640 US$ per day).

Suggested Citation

  • McNamee, Paul & Mendolia, Silvia, 2014. "The effect of chronic pain on life satisfaction: Evidence from Australian data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 65-73.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:121:y:2014:i:c:p:65-73
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.09.019
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    Cited by:

    1. Ivana Anusic & Richard E. Lucas & M. Brent Donnellan, 2017. "The Validity of the Day Reconstruction Method in the German Socio-economic Panel Study," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 213-232, January.
    2. Tessier, Philippe & Blanchin, Myriam & Sébille, Véronique, 2017. "Does the relationship between health-related quality of life and subjective well-being change over time? An exploratory study among breast cancer patients," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 174(C), pages 96-103.
    3. Mendolia, Silvia & McNamee, Paul & Yerokhin, Oleg, 2018. "The Transmission of Mental Health within Households: Does One Partner's Mental Health Influence the Other Partner's Life Satisfaction?," IZA Discussion Papers 11431, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Howley, Peter, 2017. "Less money or better health? Evaluating individual’s willingness to make trade-offs using life satisfaction data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 53-65.
    5. Howley, P., 2016. "Valuing the benefits from health care interventions using life satisfaction data," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 16/01, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.

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