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Social hierarchy of pain and its connection to the memory of previously suffered pain

Authors Biedma-Velázquez L, García-Rodríguez MI, Serrano-del-Rosal R

Received 16 March 2018

Accepted for publication 10 October 2018

Published 21 November 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 2949—2959

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S168462

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael Schatman


Lourdes Biedma-Velázquez, María Isabel García-Rodríguez, Rafael Serrano-del-Rosal

Institute for Advanced Social Studies, Spanish National Research Council (IESA/CSIC), Córdoba, Spain

Background: Pain is a perception conditioned both by the painful experience and by each society’s collective imagination. The general objective of the project which this work forms part of it was to discover what citizens think about different aspects of this complex experience. More precisely, this paper’s objective is to get to know which is the worst pain that can be suffered according to Spaniards and what determines that hierarchy, bearing in mind that this work has chosen a broad definition of pain, including pains of different origins, namely, physical, psychological, and emotional pain.
Materials and methods: The data from the CIS 3137 study “Social perceptions of pain” have been used, which is a survey module designed by the Institute of Advanced Social Studies (IESA) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). A hierarchical multiple factor analysis has been performed, using the SPSS statistical analysis software, where the dependent variable is the citizen’s opinion on which is the worst pain that can be suffered, recoded according to the origin of pain (physical, psychological, and emotional pain). Sociodemographic variables and variables linked to the experience of pain have been included as independent variables.
Results and conclusion: Although the most frequent pains among Spanish citizens are those of a physical origin, especially those linked to musculoskeletal problems and pains of an orofacial origin, when they are asked about the worst pain a person can suffer, they do not mention this type of pain, but those of an emotional origin. It has also been possible to confirm that the pain that citizens refer to when asked about the worst pain that can be suffered, and, therefore, the hierarchy of pain held by Spanish citizens as a group, is conditioned, although not determined, by the pain that has previously been suffered – by one’s own experience of pain.

Keywords: pain, social perception, physical pain, psychological pain, emotional pain, experience of pain

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