Differences in Psychosocial Factors and Pain Perception Between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White from the Border Region

Megan Giron, AS1., Aaron Smiley, AS1, Isaac Rodriguez, BS.2, Carolina Valencia1, Ph.D. 1. Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968 2. Department of Public Health, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968

Evidence shows that the conditions and social context in which persons live could explain, in part, why specific populations are healthier than others. For example, ethnicity is a powerful predictor of health-related outcomes, beliefs, and behaviors. Authors have reported ethnic differences in clinical pain. In addition, psychosocial factors have often been associated with pain sensitivity and pain diversity. Therefore, this study aims to examine the differences of ethnic identity, optimism, anxiety, and resilience between Hispanic Americans and Non-Hispanic White Americans in the local region of El Paso, and to investigate the association with pain perception. 

This preliminary analysis included 30 healthy participants, 17 Hispanics (6 males, 11 females; age= 28.35± 14.26 years), and 17 Non-Hispanic Whites (6 males, 11 females; age= 27.82± 10.28 years). Validated questionnaires were gathered at the beginning of the session to assess ethnic identity (MEIM), optimism (LOT-R), anxiety (GAD), and resilience (BRS). Participants underwent quantitative sensory testing, which included heat pain threshold and heat pain tolerance. 

Analysis showed significant differences in ethnic identity (t(32)=2.89; p= 0.007) between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Whites, where Hispanics reported a higher ethnic identity  (mean=2.83, SD=0.58) than Non-Hispanic Whites (mean=2.28, SD=0.52). Besides, the analysis showed significant differences in pain threshold between the two groups (t(22.48)=2.34; p= 0.028), where Hispanics reported a significantly higher level of pain. A significant indirect association was observed between pain threshold and ethnic identity (r=-0.533; p=0.028). However, this association was observed only in Non-Hispanic Whites. 

The results of this study provide evidence of differences in ethnic group in response to experimental pain, with Hispanic exhibiting higher pain sensitivity than Non-Hispanic White. In addition, ethnic identity is associated with pain sensitivity in the Non-Hispanic White population; however, further analyses in a larger sample are needed before drawing stronger conclusions.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Megan Giron

Institution: University of Texas at El Paso

Type: Poster

Subject: Health & Human Development

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 7
Date/Time: Tue 3:30pm-4:30pm
Session Number: 5100