Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Chronic Pain and Stigma A Literature Review
by Aste, Julie A., Psy.D., Union Institute and University, 2016, 84; 10113719
Abstract (Summary)

Chronic pain is a prevalent disorder that is difficult to treat and has the potential to be stigmatizing for individuals with chronic pain. An exploratory literature review was conducted to examine chronic pain stigma. The review specifically investigated studies that addressed individuals’ experiences of chronic pain stigma, identified sources of chronic pain stigma, and chronic pain stigma’s impact on treatment adherence. The following key terms were used to search 15 computerized databases (i.e. chronic pain AND stigma OR stigmatization OR disbelief OR stereotype OR invisible OR misconception). Studies were reviewed if they were relevant to chronic pain stigma, were conducted in the United States, the majority of participants were adults with a chronic pain condition, chronic pain condition was non-malignant, chronic pain was defined as persistent or intermittent for at least 3 months, and stigma was defined as being labeled, stereotyped, devalued, or discredited. The final review included 18 qualitative and quantitative studies from 1989-2015 that examined chronic pain and stigma. The findings of the study included twelve key themes that shed light on the experiences of stigma, sources of stigma, and impact on treatment adherence. Experiences of stigma included: estrangement, self-stigmatization, invisibility, medication stigma, and disbelief. The participants in the studies identified three sources of stigma: doctors, public, and family. Four themes emerged from the few studies that addressed treatment adherence: difficulty communicating about pain, management strategies, to seek care or not seek care, and to not take medications due to fears of addiction and stigma. The findings are further discussed in relation to the United State’s societal values, beliefs, and culture. A cultural shift is suggested in how we view chronic pain and illness. Additionally, recommendations are made for the role of psychologists addressing chronic pain stigma from a multi-systems level approach. Keywords: Chronic pain, stigma, disbelief, diagnostic uncertainty, illegitimacy

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: O'Neill, Margarita
Commitee: Lax, William, Lewis, Brian
School: Union Institute and University
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 77/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology
Keywords: Chronic pain, Disbelief, Invisible, Stereotype, Stigma, Stigmatization
Publication Number: 10113719
ISBN: 978-1-339-76795-6
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