Similarities in pain descriptions of four different ethnic-culture groups

F. Gaston-Johansson, M. Albert, E. Fagan, Lani M Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to identify pain terms commonly used by Hispanics, American Indians, blacks, and whites to describe painlike experiences. Subjects were asked to rate the intensity of the terms pain, ache, and hurt on a Visual Analogue Scale. Following this prodedure, they were given three separate copies of the McGill Pain Questionnaire and asked to choose the words that represented pain, ache, and hurt, respectively. The results showed that all cultural groups rated pain as the most intense terms, followed by hurt; ache was rated least intense. There was a significant difference between the intensity level of the three terms (p < 0.001). Word descriptors that distinguished pain from ache and hurt are presented. The importance of these findings for clinical practice is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-100
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Nursing(all)


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