Critical Review| Volume 10, ISSUE 10, P1012-1019, October 2009

Pain Coping in Latino Populations


      Although there has been a rapid increase in Latino populations in the United States over the last 10 years, health research with Latino cultural groups is sorely lacking. In the area of pain-coping research, one consequence of the limited research is that very little is known about pain coping among Latinos. The purpose of this paper is to review the existing literature on pain coping in Latino populations, and to propose new directions for the future study of pain coping in Latino populations. This review is divided into 4 sections. In the first section, the challenges of defining Latino populations are discussed. In the second section, the current literature on pain coping in Latinos is reviewed. Third, we discuss the implications of existing findings for pain-coping assessment and pain treatment. Finally, we offer ideas for future research on pain coping in Latino populations.


      In this review article, we identify gaps in our current understanding of pain coping in Latino cultural groups, and associated implications for pain assessment and treatment. We also highlight potential directions for future pain-coping research with Latino populations.

      Key words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to The Journal of Pain
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Abraido-Lanza A.F.
        Social support and psychological adjustment among Latinas with arthritis: A test of a theoretical model.
        Ann Behav Med. 2004; 27: 162-171
        • Abraido-Lanza A.F.
        • Guier C.
        • Colon R.M.
        Psychological thriving among Latinas with chronic illness.
        J Soc Issues. 1998; 54: 405-424
        • Abraido-Lanza A.F.
        • Guier C.
        • Revenson T.A.
        Coping and social support resources among Latinas with arthritis.
        Arthritis Care Res. 1996; 9: 501-508
        • Abraido-Lanza A.F.
        • Vasquez E.
        • Echeverria S.E.
        En las manos de Dios [in God's hands]: Religious and other forms of coping among Latinos with arthritis.
        J Consult Clin Psychol. 2004; 72: 91-102
        • Anderson K.O.
        • Mendoza T.R.
        • Valero V.
        • Richman S.P.
        • Russell C.
        • Hurley J.
        • DeLeon C.
        • Washington P.
        • Palos G.
        • Payne R.
        • Cleeland C.S.
        Minority cancer patients and their providers: pain management attitudes and practice.
        Cancer. 2000; 88: 1929-1938
        • Anderson K.O.
        • Richman S.P.
        • Hurley J.
        • Palos G.
        • Valero V.
        • Mendoza T.R.
        • Gning I.
        Cancer pain management among underserved minority outpatients: Perceived needs and barriers to optimal control.
        Cancer. 2002; 94: 2295-2304
        • Baer R.D.
        • Weller S.C.
        • de Alba Garcia J.G.
        • Glazer M.
        • Trotter R.
        • Pachter L.
        • Klein R.E.
        A cross-cultural approach to the study of the folk illness nervios.
        Cult Med Psychiatry. 2003; 27: 315-337
        • Bates M.S.
        • Edwards W.T.
        Ethnic variations in the chronic pain experience.
        Ethn Dis. 1992; 2: 63-83
        • Bates M.S.
        • Edwards W.T.
        • Anderson K.O.
        Ethnocultural influences on variation in chronic pain perception.
        Pain. 1993; 52: 101-112
        • Bill-Harvey D.
        • Rippey R.M.
        • Abeles M.
        • Pfeiffer C.A.
        Methods used by urban, low-income minorities to care for their arthritis.
        Arthritis Care Res. 1989; 2: 60-64
        • Bonkowsky J.
        • Frazer K.
        • Buchi K.
        • Byington C.L.
        Metamizole use by Latino immigrants: A common and potentially harmful home remedy.
        Pediatrics. 2002; 109: e98
        • Braveman P.A.
        • Cubbin C.
        • Egerter S.
        • Chideya S.
        • Marchi K.S.
        • Metzler M.
        • Posner S.
        Socioeconomic status in health research: One size does not fit all.
        JAMA. 2005; 294: 2879-2888
        • Campbell L.C.
        • Clauw D.J.
        • Keefe F.J.
        Persistent pain and depression: A biopsychosocial perspective.
        Biol Psychiatry. 2003; 54: 399-409
        • Castro F.G.
        • Furth P.
        • Karlow H.
        The health beliefs of Mexican, Mexican American and Anglo American women.
        Hispanic J Behav Sci. 1984; 6: 365-383
        • Cleeland C.S.
        • Gonin R.
        • Baez L.
        • Loehrer P.
        • Pandya K.J.
        Pain and treatment of pain in minority patients with cancer. The Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Minority Outpatient Pain Study.
        Ann Intern Med. 1997; 127: 318-816
        • Coulton C.J.
        • Milligan S.
        • Chow J.
        • Haug M.
        Ethnicity, self-care, and use of medical care among the elderly with joint symptoms.
        Arthritis Care Res. 1990; 3: 19-28
        • Cuellar I.
        • Arnold B.
        • Jasso R.
        An acculturation rating scales for Mexican American normal and clinical populations.
        Hispanic J Behav Sci. 1980; 2: 199-217
        • Currier R.L.
        The hot-cold syndrome and symbolic balance in Mexican and Spanish American folk medicine.
        in: Martinez R.A. Hispanic Culture and Health Care: Fact, Fiction, Folklore. CV Mosby, Saint Louis, MO1978: 138-151
        • Dominick K.L.
        • Bosworth H.B.
        • Jeffreys A.S.
        • Grambow S.C.
        • Oddone E.Z.
        • Horner R.D.
        Racial/ethnic variations in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use among patients with osteoarthritis.
        Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2004; 13: 683-694
        • Edwards R.R.
        • Moric M.
        • Husfeldt B.
        • Buvanendran A.
        • Ivankovich O.
        Ethnic similarities and differences in the chronic pain experience: A comparison of African American, Hispanic, and white patients.
        Pain Med. 2005; 6: 88-98
      1. Flores BD, Campbell LC, Keefe FJ: Ethnic differences in pain, acculturation, and pain coping in young adults. J Pain 8:4, S1, Abstract #932.2007.

        • Fuentes E.F.
        • Kohn M.A.
        • Neighbor M.L.
        Lack of association between ethnicity or race and fracture analgesia.
        Acad Emerg Med. 2002; 9: 910-915
        • Gansler T.
        • Henley S.J.
        • Stein K.
        • Nehl E.J.
        • Smigal C.
        • Slaughter E.
        Sociodemographic determinants of cancer treatment health literacy.
        Cancer. 2005; 104: 653-660
        • Garcia S.
        • Canoniero M.
        • Lopes G.
        • Soriano A.O.
        Metamizole use among Hispanics in Miami: Report of a survey conducted in a primary care setting.
        South Med J. 2006; 99: 924-926
        • Gaston-Johansson F.
        • Albert M.
        • Fagan E.
        Similarities in pain descriptions of four different ethnic-culture groups.
        J Pain Symp Mgmt. 1990; 5: 94-99
        • Griswold G.A.
        • Evans S.
        • Spielman L.
        • Fishman B.
        Coping strategies of HIV patients with peripheral neuropathy.
        AIDS Care. 2005; 17: 711-720
        • Guarnaccia P.J.
        • Lewis-Fernandez R.
        • Marano M.R.
        Toward a Puerto Rican popular nosology: Nervios and ataque de nervios.
        Cult Med Psychiatry. 2003; 27: 339-366
      2. Guzman B: The Hispanic population: Census 2000 brief. Published May 2001.

        • Hastie B.A.
        • Riley J.L.
        • Fillingim R.B.
        Ethnic differences in pain coping: factor structure of the coping strategies questionnaire and coping strategies questionnaire-revised.
        J Pain. 2004; 5: 304-316
        • Hastie B.A.
        • Riley J.L.
        • Fillingim R.B.
        Ethnic differences and responses to pain in healthy young adults.
        Pain Med. 2005; 6: 61-71
        • Juarez G.
        • Ferrell B.
        • Borneman T.
        Influence of culture on cancer pain management in Hispanic patients.
        Cancer Pract. 1998; 6: 262-269
        • Kosko D.A.
        • Flaskerud J.H.
        Mexican American, nurse practitioner, and lay control group beliefs about cause and treatment of chest pain.
        Nurs Res. 1987; 36: 226-231
        • Larson E.L.
        • Dilone J.
        • Garcia M.
        • Smolowitz J.
        Factors which influence Latino community members to self-prescribe antibiotics.
        Nurs Res. 2006; 55: 94-102
        • Lazaro C.
        • Caseras X.
        • Whizar-Lugo V.M.
        • Wenk R.
        • Baldioceda F.
        • Bernal R.
        • Ovalle A.
        • Torrubia R.
        • Banos J.E.
        Psychometric properties of a Spanish version of the McGill Pain Questionnaire in several Spanish-speaking countries.
        Clin J Pain. 2001; 17: 365-374
        • Lazarus R.S.
        • Folkman S.
        Stress, Appraisal, and Coping.
        Springer, New York, NY1984
        • Lopez R.A.
        Use of alternative folk medicine by Mexican American women.
        J Immigr Health. 2005; 7: 23-31
        • Lorig K.
        • Gonzalez V.M.
        • Ritter P.
        Community-based Spanish language arthritis education program: A randomized trial.
        Med Care. 1999; 37: 957-963
        • Marin G.
        • Sabogal F.
        • Marin B.V.
        • Otero-Sabogal R.
        • Perez-Stable
        Development of a short acculturation scale for Hispanics.
        Hispanic J Behav Sci. 1987; 9: 183-205
        • McCracken L.M.
        • Carson J.W.
        • Eccleston C.
        • Keefe F.
        Acceptance and change in the context of chronic pain.
        Pain. 2004; 104: 4-7
        • Mikhail N.
        • Wali S.
        • Ziment I.
        Use of alternative medicine among Hispanics.
        J Altern Complement Med. 2004; 10: 851-859
        • Ng B.
        • Dimsdale J.E.
        • Shragg G.P.
        • Deutsch R.
        Ethnic differences in analgesic consumption for postoperative pain.
        Psychosom Med. 1996; 58: 125-129
        • Nguyen M.
        • Ugarte C.
        • Fuller I.
        • Haas G.
        • Portenoy R.K.
        Access to care for chronic pain: Racial and ethnic differences.
        J Pain. 2005; 6: 301-314
        • Padilla R.
        • Gomez V.
        • Biggerstaff S.L.
        • Mehler P.S.
        Use of curanderismo in a public health care system.
        Arch Intern Med. 2001; 161: 1336-1340
        • Palinkas L.A.
        • Kabongo M.
        The use of complementary and alternative medicine by primary care patients. A SURF∗NET study.
        J Fam Pract. 2000; 49: 1121-1130
        • Palos G.R.
        • Mendoza T.R.
        • Cantor S.B.
        • Aday L.A.
        • Cleeleand C.S.
        Perceptions of analgesic use and side-effects: What the public values in pain management.
        J Pain Symptom Manage. 2004; 28: 460-473
        • Pavlik V.N.
        • Hyman D.J.
        • Wendt J.A.
        • Orengo C.
        Association of a culturally defined syndrome (nervios) with chest pain and DSM-IV affective disorders in Hispanic patients referred for cardiac stress testing.
        Ethn Dis. 2004; 14: 505-514
        • Pletcher M.J.
        • Kertesz S.G.
        • Kohn M.A.
        • Gonzales R.
        Trends in opioid prescribing by race/ethnicity for patients seeking care in US emergency departments.
        JAMA. 2008; 299: 70-78
        • Portenoy R.K.
        • Ugarte C.
        • Fuller I.
        • Haas G.
        Population-based survey of pain in the United States: Differences among White, African American, and Hispanic subjects.
        J Pain. 2004; 5: 317-328
        • Pylypa J.
        Self-medication practices in two California Mexican communities.
        J Immigr Health. 2001; 3: 59-75
        • Riley J.L.
        • Robinson M.E.
        • Geisser M.E.
        Empirical subgroups of the Coping Strategies Questionnaire-Revised: A multisample study.
        Clin J Pain. 1999; 15: 111-116
        • Rosenstiel A.K.
        • Keefe F.J.
        The use of coping strategies in chronic low back pain patients: relationship to patient characteristics and current adjustment.
        Pain. 1983; 17: 33-44
        • Snyder C.R.
        • Dinoff B.L.
        Coping: Where have you been?.
        in: Snyder C.R. Coping: The psychology of what works. Oxford, New York, NY1999: 3-19
      3. Spector R: Cultural Diversity in Health and Illness, (6th ed.) Upper Saddle River. NJ, Prentice Hall, 2004, pp 254-278.

        • Sullivan M.J.L.
        • Bishop S.R.
        • Pivik J.
        The Pain Catastrophizing Scale: Development and validation.
        Psychol Assess. 1995; 7: 524-532
        • Taylor L.
        • Abarca S.
        • Henry B.
        • Friedman L.
        Use of Neo-melubrina, a banned antipyretic drug, in San Diego, California: A survey of patients and providers.
        West J Med. 2001; 175: 159-163
        • Todd K.H.
        • Nigel S.
        • Hoffman J.R.
        Ethnicity as a risk factor for inadequate emergency department analgesia.
        JAMA. 1993; 269: 1537-1539
        • Waddell G.
        • Turk D.C.
        Clinical assessment of low back pain.
        in: Turk D.C. Melzack R. Handbook of Pain Assessment. Guilford Press, New York, NY2001: 431-453
        • Waters S.J.
        • Campbell L.C.
        • Keefe F.J.
        • Carson J.W.
        The essence of cognitive behavioral pain management.
        in: Dworkin R. Breitbart W. Psychosocial Aspects of Pain: A Handbook for Health Care Providers. IASP Press, Seattle, WA2004: 261-283
        • World Health Organization
        Health Education in Self-Care: Possibilities and Limitations.
        World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland1983
        • Zunker C.
        • Rutt C.
        • Meza G.
        Perceived health needs of elderly Mexicans living on the U.S.-Mexico Border.
        J Transcult Nurs. 2005; 16: 50-56