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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2010 Feb;21(1):177-220. doi: 10.1353/hpu.0.0255.

Race, ethnicity, and pain among the U.S. adult population.

Author information

  • 1Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Applied Research Program, National Cancer Institute (NCI), Bethesda, MD 20892-7344, USA. shaversv@mail.nih.gov

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

There is reliable evidence that racial/ethnic minorities suffer disproportionately from unrelieved pain compared with Whites. Several factors may contribute to disparities in pain management. Understanding how these factors influence effective pain management among racial/ethnic minority populations would be helpful for developing tailored interventions designed to eliminate racial/ethnic disparities in pain management. We conducted a review of the literature to explore the interaction between race/ethnicity, cultural influences; pain perception, assessment, and communication; provider and patient characteristics; and health system factors and how they might contribute to racial/ethnic disparities in receipt of effective pain management.

METHODS:

The published literature from 1990-2008 was searched for articles with data on racial/ethnic patterns of pain management as well as racially, ethnically, and culturally-specific attitudes toward pain, pain assessment, and communication; provider prescribing patterns; community access to pain medications; and pain coping strategies among U.S. adults.

RESULTS:

The literature suggests that racial/ethnic disparities in pain management may operate through limited access to health care and appropriate analgesics; patient access to or utilization of pain specialists; miscommunication and/or misperceptions about the presence and/or severity of pain; patient attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that influence the acceptance of appropriate analgesics and analgesic doses; and provider attitudes, knowledge and beliefs about patient pain.

PMID:
20173263
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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