Comparison of pain and psychosocial correlates among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White youth with chronic pain

Pain Rep. 2022 Jul 18;7(4):e1020. doi: 10.1097/PR9.0000000000001020. eCollection 2022 Jul-Aug.


Introduction: Despite well-documented pain disparities among adults from non-White and Hispanic groups, less is known about pain disparities in non-White and Hispanic pediatric populations.

Objectives: We compare pain and related psychosocial factors at the individual (pain intensity, pain interference, pain catastrophizing, co-occurring symptoms), social (peer relations), and systemic (health insurance) levels among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White (NHW) youth with chronic pain.

Methods: Eight hundred thirty-seven (71.4% female) Hispanic (n = 268, 32%) and NHW (n = 569, 68%) youth ages 8 to 17 years (M = 14.00; SD = 2.54) completed a survey at their initial visit to a pain clinic. Independent sample t tests investigated mean differences in psychosocial factors at the individual and social levels. Chi-squared tests investigated differences at the systemic level. Bivariate correlations for each group were compared using Fisher r-to-z transformations.

Results: Hispanic youth reported higher levels of pain intensity (t[811] = -2.75, P = 0.006). Groups did not differ in reports of other individual or social factors. Non-Hispanic White youth were more likely to have private insurance (OR, 5.66). All examined variables were significantly correlated among NHW youth. Correlations were weaker or nonsignificant among Hispanic youth. Fisher r-to-z transformations revealed these group differences to be significant.

Conclusion: Hispanic youth report higher pain levels than NHW counterparts and lower likelihood of having private insurance. Pain and psychosocial factors correlate differently among the 2 groups highlighting a need to better understand the chronic pain experiences of diverse youth because models derived primarily from NHW populations may not generalize across ethnic and racial groups.

Keywords: Chronic pain; Ethnicity; Health disparities; Hispanic youth; Pediatric pain.