Study Finds Racial Disparities in Pain-Related Quality of Life

There are many ways in which chronic pain issues can interrupt and interfere with a life, and the quality of that life, especially in psychological terms, can be drastically affected. Efforts in developing pain management systems and other services for those who experience chronic pain are ongoing, while research in the field continues to provide hope for those afflicted with the issue. In a study based with the University of Michigan Health System, researchers have identified a potentially major factor in the extent of the impact of chronic pain on quality of life. While the factor may not make much sense on first glance, the researchers posit that there are valid and important reasons for the discrepancies between the experiences of black and white men with chronic pain.

The research found that African-American men were more likely to experience particularly severe levels of chronic pain, and were also more likely to exhibit symptoms of depression, than their white counterparts. The study identified possible contributing elements such as the fact that black men were more likely to be involved in a lawsuit surrounding their chronic pain in some way. The researchers also point out that these men may experience more difficult access to both medical and psychological care, and participate less in potentially relieving habits such as drinking and smoking.

The study’s lead author points out that research on chronic pain and quality of life tends to focus on gender, and has left the black male demographic largely unexplored, an issue that may be further involved in creating the disparity. Through continued research into why black males experience greater difficulty and a lower quality of life with chronic pain, and efforts made to address the causes, the medical and psychological communities may be able to bring more happiness, peace, and relief to a wider variety of clients.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Terry


    April 20th, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    Well,it may be because of lack of services or their accessibility to certain groups…also,the economic background comes into being here…and although there are medical insurances that may debunk this theory,there is also the fact that community-wise,some disorders are experienced far widely due to their perception of it and its lack of treatment thereof.

  • Donna G

    Donna G

    April 20th, 2010 at 2:52 AM

    Do you really think that a study like this will do anything to treat the disparity in the ways that different culyures experience certain tyhings or do you think it is simply to highlight that divide and that will then move on?

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