Pain is a phenomenon experienced by nearly all individuals and it remains the number one reason individuals seek medical care. The gold-standard for gauging pain in the clinic, is to ask patients to verbally self-report their pain from zero to ten (anchored as worst pain imaginable). Although there are standards for how medical providers should treat patients based on the numbers provided, there are obvious examples that these standards are not universally used. Indeed, socially marginalized individuals and in particular Black Americans, report more pain on these scales but receive less or no treatment. Recent works have tried to understand why this treatment disparity exists by looking at nonverbal pain expressions and their assessments; however, the experimental findings have been mixed. Instead, we aim to look at the verbal communication used in clinical settings and examine potential sociocultural biases individuals have in assessing these pain-related, but non-numerical texts. Furthermore, these numerical scales were built largely with White and European-based samples and may not adequately describe the experiences of Black Americans. Therefore, we will help form a database composed of the vernacular and sentiments Black Americans have when reporting pain to aid medical providers in the future.
PhD Student, Clinical Neuroscience Section, Karolinska Institutet
PhD Student, University of California, Berkeley
PhD Student, McGill University
PhD Student, University of Mississippi