Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. David M. Walton


Chronic musculoskeletal pain results in significant personal, economic, and social burden. Early identification and intervention in those people with acute pain that are likely to transition into a state of chronicity can prevent the onset of chronic pain before it emerges and becomes resistant to treatment. This study investigated the potential stress biomarkers associated with acute pain and disability and how those associations are influenced by early life adversities.

Stress level was determined according to the plasma level of stress biomarkers (cortisol, BDNF, TGFB1) and self-report measures of stress following musculoskeletal traumatic events. The magnitude and direction of associations of cortisol and BDNF with self-reported stress markers provided supportive evidence for further exploration of cortisol and BDNF as acute stress biomarkers. The results of the study also supported the moderating role of adverse childhood experiences on the associations between self-reported distress and stress biomarkers.