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Pain is Individually and Culturally Subjective (Nursing Continue Education, Reading & Sharing)

Pain is individually and culturally subjective. Pain is each individual own physical and emotional experience. Pain is managed in different ways throughout the world. Cultural beliefs about the origin, role, and meaning of pain can affect how a patient perceives pain. Many beliefs regarding pain stem from religion and spirituality; for example, some religious groups believe pain is a part of God’s plan, a penance for sins, or a test of faith. In contrast, other cultures ascribe positive meanings to pain. These patients may view pain as a sign of progress toward recovery. The Chinese culture believes pain results from an imbalance between yin and yang, which has its roots in Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism (Martin & Barkley, 2016). There are also cultures who have negative attitudes toward expressing pain outwardly; for example, Black American, Hispanic American, Asian American, and American Indian patients may be reluctant to complain of pain due to strong cultural beliefs in stoicism. As a result, these patients may prefer to keep a neutral face and avoid grimacing, crying, or moaning, even if their pain is severe. Stoic pain behavior can lead to inaccurate pain assessments (Martin & Barkely, 2016).

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