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October 2021

Social and medical influences on attributions and evaluations of chronic pain

Author(s): Tait, R. C.

Journal/Book: Psychol Health. 1999; 14: C/O Stbs Ltd, PO Box 90, Reading, Berks, England Rg1 8Jl. Harwood Acad Publ Gmbh. 719-729.

Abstract: Previous research suggests that judgments of pain are subject to social influences, including characteristics of the person in pain, the judge, and the social context in which the judgment occurs. In this experiment, eight vignettes describing a person with chronic low back pain were varied as a function of patient ethnicity (Caucasian vs. African-American), litigation status (litigant vs. Non-litigant), and medical evidence (strong vs. Weak). Participants (N = 116) read vignettes, made attributions of causality for the person's pain and disability, and evaluated the severity of the pain syndrome. Pain and disability were perceived as more legitimate when the person in pain was a non-litigant and when medical evidence was strong. Evaluations of syndrome severity were more extreme when evidence was strong. A three-way interaction indicated that judgments may have been influenced by ethnic stereotypes. These findings substantiate the influence of social variables in judgments of persons with pain.

Note: Article Chibnall JT, St Louis Univ, Sch Med, Dept Psychiat, 1221 S Grand Blvd, St Louis,MO 63104 USA

Keyword(s): low back pain; symptom judgements; ethnicity; litigation; LOW-BACK-PAIN; OBSERVER PERCEPTIONS; LEGAL SETTLEMENT; DECISION-MAKING; COMPENSATION; JUDGMENTS; ETHNICITY; STEREOTYPES; MOTIVATION; ANALGESIA


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