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Ethnic differences in the perception of pain: a systematic review of qualitative and quantitative research.

Review article
Authors Ferid Krupic
Svemir Čustović
Mahir Jašarević
Sahmir Šadić
Mirsad Fazlić
Kemal Grbic
Kristian Samuelsson
Published in Medicinski glasnik : official publication of the Medical Association of Zenica-Doboj Canton, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Volume 16
Issue 1
Pages 108-114
ISSN 1840-2445
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive care
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Orthopaedics
Pages 108-114
Language en
Keywords Ethnicity; health care professionals; pain perception; pain treatment
Subject categories Other Medical Sciences, Basic Medicine, Clinical Medicine, Health Sciences, Medical Biotechnology


Aim To investigate existence of scientific support for linking differences in the experience of pain to ethnicity. Methods The study was designed as a systematic literature review of qualitative and quantitative studies. The inclusion criteria were scientific studies published in scientific journals and written in English. Studies that described children's experiences and animals were excluded. There were 10 studies, one qualitative and nine quantitative. Results The result was divided into two main sections. The first section presents the results of investigated material regarding different ethnic groups, the groups' different experiences with regard to pain and its treatment focusing entirely on the patients' perspective. Several studies have revealed major differences in the way individuals perceive their pain, using various pain evaluation tools. The second section explained different coping strategies depending on ethnicity and showed that different ethnic groups handle their pain in different ways. Conclusion Healthcare professionals have a duty to pay attention to and understand the patients' experience of their disease and suffering and, as far as possible, mitigate this using appropriate measures. For this purpose, ethnic, cultural and religious differences between different patients need to be understood. It is necessary to continue to study ethnic differences in reporting and predicting pain and its consequences, including the assessment of variables associated with pain, as well as examining the use of prayer as a form of dealing with pain, with an evaluation of various effects of such different influences.

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