Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School



The purpose of this project was to examine culture and the impact it has on the pain experience. Pain, albeit acute or chronic, is an important subject to understand because it can have detrimental effects on the body if not properly managed. Culture has been found to be a factor that influences one’s pain experience and thus the need for healthcare professionals to acknowledge this is imperative. The cultures examined in this paper include: Mexican- Americans, African-Americans, Chinese-Americans and Japanese-Americans. Within these four cultural groups their beliefs about the origin of pain, physical responses to pain, health and illness beliefs were examined. Stoicism was found to be a common pain response between these cultures. Health and illness beliefs among each culture were found to be based on spiritual values ultimately effecting pain perception and treatment. Common themes that emerged from the cultures included fear of addiction to pain medication, machismo/ strong image portrayal, past history of hardships and also complementary and alternative therapies. Nursing implications are provided and discussed for each of the cultures to assist in a better understanding of the culture’s diversity and pain management.

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