Understanding ethnic minority service user experiences of being invited to and attending group pain programmes: A qualitative service evaluation

Eleanor Bull, Dore Young, Andre Etchebarne, Zoey Malpus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Health inequalities continue to exist for individuals from an ethnic minority background who live with chronic pain. There is a growing recognition that an individual’s experience of pain is shaped by their cultural beliefs, which may influence their decisions about managing their pain. Aims: This service evaluation aimed to (a) understand experiences of service users from a Black, Asian or other ethnic minority background of being invited to and attending a group pain programme in one secondary care pain rehabilitation service. (b) Provide recommendations to develop culturally grounded services to better meet the diverse needs of all service users living with chronic pain. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five service users who had been offered a place on a group pain programme within the last 3 years. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. An interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to identify themes in the data. Results: The analysis produced three themes (1) Pain, Ethnicity and Coping: Perceptions of pain and coping in relation to ethnicity and intersectional factors, alignment to a self-management approach. (2) Communication for Decisions: Experiences of ethnicity and culture in relation to health professional communication about group pain programmes, participants’ expectations and fears. (3) Feeling Included: Experiences of feeling included or excluded in group pain programme, relationships and empowerment during the group pain programme. Discussion: The five service users shared a range of perspectives on how they felt ethnicity shaped their experience of the group pain programme. The findings suggest that adaptations to group pain programmes can make a meaningful difference for service users from ethnic minority backgrounds. 10 recommendations are suggested, including greater exploration of cultural beliefs during assessment, improving accessibility of information about the service and engaging more diverse attendees and facilitators.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish journal of pain
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • adaptation
  • chronic pain
  • communication
  • cultural beliefs
  • diversity
  • ethnicity
  • groups
  • health inequalities
  • pain management


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