Systematic Review on the Literature on Culture and Pain

Stella Ogala-Echejoh, Patricia Schofield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Culture/ethnicity/race amongst other factors has been found to be an important patient related determinant of not just the pain experience but the effectiveness of pain management. Nowadays many societies are composed of culturally diverse populations and many studies report that ethnic minorities are the ones receiving the brunt of ineffective pain management due to the clash of diverse cultures. This study systematically reviewed the available qualitative literature on culture and pain. Specifically, how people of various cultures define, perceive and express pain is reported in this paper. How people of various cultures manage/seek relief for their pain and the review of the effectiveness of the pain management given to them will be reported elsewhere. 15 studies of primary qualitative research on the pain experience of adults of diverse cultures were reviewed. Several themes were identified and recommendations made regarding Health care provisions and Future research. From the review, it emerged; (i) that there is a general breakdown in communication between health care providers and patients for a variety of reasons; (ii) most cultures viewed pain from a religious/spiritual perspective. From this review; It was concluded that patient – physician communication should be actively improved upon and all patients irrespective of culture should be aided to find meaning in their pain. Further research on this sensitive topic is greatly needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-354
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pain Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • pain culture


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