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Psychosocial and cultural aspects of pain. gender and identity issues of pain

Vassiliki Tsirtsiridou, Georgia Vassilopoulou

Thursday, January 9, 2014

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Pages: 167-177


The experience of pain is as old as recorded history. Cultural and social factors are the foundation of nociception. They are related to the pain perception and expression, the seeking for medical help as well as the acceptance of therapy.

The aim of the present study was to review the literature about the psychosocial and cultural aspects of pain.

Method and material: Methodology included search in electronic data bases mainly pub-med regarding the psychosocial and cultural aspects of pain.

Results : The studies show differences in pain experience among ethnicities and among people within the same ethnic group too. Pain is considered to be a threat for the well- being of the individual and for the normal ageing procedure. It leads to a feeling of ‘trapped self’, of social isolation and of persistent frustration. There are psychological aspects of pain too. It is shown that at the moment a painful stimulus is felt, any cognitive or other function is being interrupted. When the pain becomes chronic there is permanent intrusion in human’s life. There are some pain syndromes more common in women, while women seem to be more sensitive regarding pain perception. This can be correlated with hormonal and anatomical differences between sexes, with differences in opioid receptors as well as in psychological and social factors affecting both sexes.

Conclusions: Assessment of pain should be an integral part of therapeutic treatment of every disease

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