All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Burel R Goodin

Advisory Committee Members

Laurence A Bradley

Olivio J Clay

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


Knee OA is an active disease process involving cartilage destruction, subchondral bone thickening, and new bone formation affecting 22% of American adults (46.4 million) over age 18 years. Past literature suggests, a disproportionate number of racial/ethnic minorities, particularly non-Hispanic Blacks, are affected by knee OA. Furthermore, over one in four (28%) Blacks have an income below the national poverty level compared with 11% of Whites. Therefore, the overall aim of this study is to examine racial and SES differences in the experience of pain and physical functioning in adults with knee OA. 191 participants (62% female, 52% Black) were recruited from The University of Florida and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Participants underwent experimental pain tests (e.g. temporal summation tasks), an evoked pain and physical function test (Short Performance Physical Battery), and self-reported clinical pain and physical function (Western Ontario McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index). Results suggests that white individuals above the poverty line report the least pain and greatest physical function on clinical measures. Although the present study found main effects of race and education, no significant interactions were found between any measures of SES and race on endogenous pain modulatory processes. Finally, bivariate associations indicated that mechanical temporal summation was related to WOMAC pain. However, after controlling covariates, regression-based analyses failed to demonstrate any significant moderation effect for either poverty status or race when examining TS of mechanical pain in relation to clinical pain severity. Overall, results suggest that being White and above the poverty line may be protective against clinical pain severity and dysfunction. Furthermore, Blacks and individuals with a high school degree or less displayed some enhanced pain facilitation in response to different endogenous pain facilitatory tasks. However, non-significant interaction effects may suggest the presence of an unidentified variable that helps explain the relationship.