Public Release: 

Optimism associated with less likelihood of new pain reported by soldiers after deployment

JAMA Network Open

Bottom Line: Many veterans experience chronic pain after deployment. This study of almost 21,000 U.S. Army soldiers who deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq examined the association between feelings of optimism (such as expecting the best and believing good things will happen) before deployment and new reports of pain after deployment, including new back pain, joint pain and frequent headaches. Higher levels of optimism before deployment were linked with a lower likelihood of reporting new pain after deployment, even after accounting for demographic, military and combat factors. The findings suggest soldiers with low levels of optimism before deployment may benefit from programs designed to enhance feelings of optimism. There are limitations to interpreting the study results because researchers didn't account for psychiatric disorders and assessments of pain were limited.

Authors: Afton L. Hassett, Psy.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and coauthors


Editor's Note: The article contains conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.


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About JAMA Network Open: JAMA Network Open is the new online-only open access general medical journal from the JAMA Network. Every Friday, the journal publishes peer-reviewed clinical research and commentary in more than 40 medical and health subject areas. Every article is free online from the day of publication.

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