A Narrative Review of the Impact of Disbelief in Chronic Pain – Source: Pain Management Nursing, Nov 29, 2010

Although the experience of being believed is frequently alluded to in chronic pain literature, few studies have specifically explored this phenomenon and even fewer reviews have been offered.

This narrative review sought to explore the wider social context in which individuals with chronic pain may experience disbelief toward their pain.

Articles were obtained through a search of eight databases and a hand search of the references of full-text papers.

Key results within the articles were noted and integrated to form three main themes:

• Stigma,

• The experience of isolation,

• And the experience of emotional distress.

The experience of stigma can occur in a number of ways.

• It may be through actual or perceived encounters with others;

• It can be through the use of psychologic explanations of pain;

• It can come through a perceived challenge to one’s integrity and subsequently affect an individual’s identity;

And such stigma may be influenced by negative female stereotypes.

Finally, disbelief can lead to emotional distress. This can take the form of guilt, depression, and anger.

Throughout the article, implications for health care professionals, working with individuals living with chronic pain, are discussed.

Source: Pain Management Nursing, Nov 29, 2010. DOI: 10.1016/j.pmn.2010.09.001, by Newton BJ, Southall JL, Raphael JH, Ashford RL, LeMarchand K. Center for Health and Social Care Research, Birmingham City University, Birmingham; Department of Pain Management, Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, UK. [Email: b.j.newton@gmx.com]

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