Pain, physical activity, and health-related quality of life in adults with physical disabilities and/or chronic diseases


Objective: This study compared physical activity (PA) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in adults with physical disabilities and/or chronic diseases experiencing low and high levels of pain. Methods: This cross-sectional study used data from 848 participants (age: 50±14, 51% female) enrolled in the Dutch multicenter cohort study ReSpAct (Rehabilitation, Sports, and Active Lifestyle). Data were collected one-year after discharge from rehabilitation. Self-reported PA was assessed using the Adapted-SQUASH questionnaire. HRQoL was assessed using the RAND-12 Health Status Inventory questionnaire (scale: 0-65). Participants were grouped into a low-pain group (score: 1-3; n=446) and high-pain group (score: 4-6; n=394) based on Likert self-report. A one-way MANCOVA, corrected for age, sex, and number of conditions, was performed. Results: Analysis showed significant differences for both PA and HRQoL between groups (p<.001). Individuals in the low-pain group were active on average 2131 minutes per week (median: 1980; IQR=1860) and scored 45.8±8.5 on the HRQoL-scale. Individuals in the high-pain group were active on average 1837 minutes per week (median: 1500; IQR: 1718) and scored on average 34.5±8.3 on the HRQoL-scale. Conclusion: This is the first study to explore pain, PA, and HRQoL in a diverse group of adults with physical disabilities and/or chronic diseases after rehabilitation. Findings suggest those with lower pain are more physically active and have better HRQoL than those with higher levels of pain. Future work is needed to better understand the relationship between pain, PA, HRQoL to improve support for individuals living with a disability and/or chronic disease.

Acknowledgments: The ReSpAct study was funded by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (grant no. 319758), Stichting Beatrixoord Noord-Nederland (ReSpAct 2.0; grant date 19 February 2018) and a personal grant received from the University Medical Center Groningen, and supported by the Knowledge Center of Sport Netherlands and Stichting Special Heroes Nederland (before January 2016: Stichting Onbeperkt Sportief).