Cultural and educational influences on pain of childbirth

J Pain Symptom Manage. 1989 Mar;4(1):13-9. doi: 10.1016/0885-3924(89)90059-6.


This study investigated the effects of sociocultural family of origin and educational level on the verbal ratings of pain and pain behavior during childbirth for 83 women. Coping style and extroversion were also measured. It was found that all women rated the pain of childbirth as high. Overall, women from a Middle-Eastern compared with a Western background gave higher ratings of pain and showed more pain behavior. This was found especially for Middle-Eastern women of a low educational background. Overall, low compared with high educational level resulted in higher ratings of pain and more pain behavior. No differences were obtained as a function of extroversion. Middle-Eastern and Western women did not differ in coping style. However, women who had higher monitoring scores rated the pain as less even through no differences were obtained for pain behavior. Sociocultural group of origin as well as other relevant reference groups, such as educational level, are important in determining pain perception and behavior. Combining this information with coping style could lead to an instructional intervention for preparing women for childbirth.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Education
  • Europe / ethnology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Labor, Obstetric / physiology*
  • Labor, Obstetric / psychology
  • Middle East / ethnology
  • Pain / ethnology*
  • Personality
  • Pregnancy
  • Socioeconomic Factors