A Pilot Study of Relationships Among Pain Characteristics, Mood Disturbances, and Acculturation in a Community Sample of Chinese American Patients With Cancer

Janet Edrington

Angela Sun

Candice Wong

Marylin Dodd

Geraldine Padilla

Steven M. Paul

Christine Miaskowski

cultural aspects, cancer pain, pain, Chinese American, mood
ONF 2010, 37(2), 172-181. DOI: 10.1188/10.ONF.172-181

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the pain experience of Chinese American patients with cancer and to examine the relationships among pain characteristics, demographic characteristics, performance status, self-reported analgesic use, mood disturbances, and patients' acculturation levels.

Design: Descriptive, correlational, cross-sectional study.

Setting: Three community-based oncology facilities in the San Francisco, CA, Bay area.

Sample: 50 Chinese Americans who reported experiencing pain from cancer.

Methods: Participants completed in their preferred language a demographic questionnaire, the Karnofsky Performance Status Scale, the Brief Pain Inventory, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation Scale, and information about analgesic use. Descriptive and correlational statistics were used to evaluate data.

Main Research Variables: Pain intensity, pain interference, performance status, anxiety, depression, analgesic use, and acculturation level.

Findings: Most of the patients reported moderate to severe pain and moderate levels of interference. Lower levels of acculturation were associated with higher least and worst pain intensity scores and higher pain interference scores. Anxiety and depression scores were in the moderate range. Higher depression scores were associated with higher pain interference scores. Self-reported analgesic use for 62% of the patients was classified as inadequate.

Conclusions: A significant percentage of Chinese American patients experience moderate to severe cancer pain that affects their mood and their ability to function.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses should assume a proactive role in assessing the physical, emotional, and cognitive dimensions of pain in Chinese American patients. Future research should evaluate the cancer pain experience of these vulnerable patients and develop and test culturally appropriate interventions.

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