Examining the Link Between Discrimination and Pain Physiology
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There are well-documented pain disparities across sociodemographic groups (Campbell & Edwards, 2012), however, the physiological mechanisms behind these disparities are not well- known. The proposed research explores whether self- reported experiences of lifetime discrimination is associated with increased pain sensitivity when assessed in a laboratory setting. Participants were 72 Caucasian American, African American, Hispanic American, and Mixed- Race American undergraduate students from Texas A&M University in College Station. We conducted several psychophysical pain testing procedures to quantify pain and administered the Perceived Ethnic Discrimination Questionnaire (PEDQ) and the Experiences of Discrimination Questionnaire (EOD) to better understand the complexity of discrimination.We did not find statistically significant associations between our pain measure and discrimination, however results trended in the expected direction such that Latinx participants showed a pattern of higher pain sensitivity trending with higher discrimination. By understanding how discrimination is linked to pain sensitivity, we can create interventions to reduce pain by targeting the underlying mechanisms that exacerbate pain in specific socioeconomic subgroups.
George, Nevita (2019). Examining the Link Between Discrimination and Pain Physiology. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from