Exploring the cross-cultural acceptability of digital tools for pain self-reporting: A qualitative study

Syed Mustafa Ali, Rebecca Lee, John Mcbeth, Ben James, Sean McAlister , Alessandro Chiarotto, William Dixon, Sabine van der Veer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Culture and ethnicity influence how people communicate about their pain. This makes it challenging to develop pain self-report tools that are acceptable across ethnic groups.

We aimed to inform the development of cross-culturally acceptable digital pain self-report tools by better understanding the similarities and differences between ethnic groups in pain experiences and self-reporting needs.

Three web-based workshops consisting of a focus group and a user requirement exercise with people who self-identified as being of Black African (n=6), South Asian (n=10), or White British (n=7) ethnicity were conducted.

Across ethnic groups, participants shared similar lived experiences and challenges in communicating their pain to health care professionals. However, there were differences in beliefs about the causes of pain, attitudes toward pain medication, and experiences of how stigma and gender norms influenced pain-reporting behavior. Despite these differences, they agreed on important aspects for pain self-report, but participants from non-White backgrounds had additional language requirements such as culturally appropriate pain terminologies to reduce self-reporting barriers.

To improve the cross-cultural acceptability and equity of digital pain self-report tools, future developments should address the differences among ethnic groups on pain perceptions and beliefs, factors influencing pain reporting behavior, and language requirements.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere42177
JournalJMIR Human Factors
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2023


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