Is there physician bias against eliciting affective qualities of pain?

Lea Ann Chen, Savitha R. Tudi, Deepthi Deconda, Sita Chokhavatia, David B. Sachar, Susanne Bennett Clark, W. Crawford Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Goals: The purpose of this study is to determine the weight given to each of 3 pain dimensions by physicians who assess patients pain experiences. Background: Pain is a subjective experience that has profound impact on the quality of life. The 101-Multidimensional Affect and Pain Survey (101-MAPS) is currently the only available instrument that takes into account all 3 validated dimensions of pain by classifying 101 items into "superclusters" of sensory pain, suffering, and well-being. Study: Fourteen gastroenterologists, 11 internists, and 11 medicine residents from 2 teaching hospitals rated the items on the 101-MAPS based on their perception of the items relevance to pain in gastrointestinal diseases, on a scale of 0 (least relevant) to 5 (most relevant). Results: Of the 101 items in the MAPS rated by gastroenterologists, 25 items received a median rating of 4 or above. Of these, 23 were selected from the 57 items in the sensory pain supercluster (40%) and only 1 item each from the 26 in the suffering (3.8%), and the 18 in the well-being (5.5%) dimensions. These proportions were significantly lower for the suffering (P<0.01) and well-being (P<0.05) superclusters than for the sensory pain dimension. Conclusions: These findings suggest a bias among physicians toward sensory and against affective qualities when eliciting patients pain experiences. The results also suggest that this bias is found as early as residency training and persists among specialists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-11
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of clinical gastroenterology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • 101-Multidimensional Affect and Pain Survey
  • Gastrointestinal pain
  • Pain assessment
  • Pain measurement
  • Questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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