Studies Examine Pain Perception, Diabetes Management
- "When Race Matters: Disagreement in Pain Perception Between Patients and Their Physicians in Primary Care," Journal of the National Medical Association: The study examined how patients and physicians can differ in their assessment of chronic pain unrelated to cancer. For the study, researcher Lisa Staton of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga College of Medicine and colleagues surveyed 463 patients and their doctors at 12 primary care centers. Thirty-nine percent of participants were black and 47% were white. Using a scale of zero to 10 to measure pain intensity -- with 10 being the most unbearable pain -- patients were asked to rate their pain. Physicians also were asked to rate the amount of pain they believed the patient to be in. Researchers found that physicians were two times more likely to underestimate a black patient's pain than that of all other patients combined. The report called for further research into the finding, as well as whether improvements in cultural competence and communication can address the issue (Staton et al., JNMA, May 2007).
- "Understanding 'Masculinity' and the Challenges of Managing Type-2 Diabetes among African-American Men," Journal of the National Medical Association: The study examined how cultural aspects and masculinity of black men affect management of type 2 diabetes. Researcher Leandris Liburd of CDC's Division of Adult and Community Health and Division of Diabetes Translation and colleagues conducted in-depth interviews with 16 black men with type 2 diabetes in Raleigh, N.C. Researchers asked participants questions about what they fear most about having diabetes, how people treated them differently because of their condition, how a diabetes diagnosis affects their self image and what reactions they've received when telling others about their condition. The preliminary results of the study suggest that the requirements of diabetes self-management conflict with the traditional sex roles and behaviors of black men, which can lead to patients not adhering to proper diabetes management. Researchers concluded that understanding black men's gender identity could improve patient outcomes (Liburd et al., Journal of the National Medical Association, May 2007).