Addressing chronic pain disparities between Black and White people: a narrative review of socio-ecological determinants

Pain Manag. 2023 Aug;13(8):473-496. doi: 10.2217/pmt-2023-0032. Epub 2023 Aug 31.


A 2019 review article modified the socio-ecological model to contextualize pain disparities among different ethnoracial groups; however, the broad scope of this 2019 review necessitates deeper socio-ecological inspection of pain within each ethnoracial group. In this narrative review, we expanded upon this 2019 article by adopting inclusion criteria that would capture a more nuanced spectrum of socio-ecological findings on chronic pain within the Black community. Our search yielded a large, rich body of literature composed of 174 articles that shed further socio-ecological light on how chronic pain within the Black community is influenced by implicit bias among providers, psychological and physical comorbidities, experiences of societal and institutional racism and biomedical distrust, and the interplay among these factors. Moving forward, research and public-policy development must carefully take into account these socio-ecological factors before scaling up pre-existing solutions with questionable benefit for the chronic pain needs of Black individuals.

Keywords: chronic pain; disparities; mechanisms; psychosocial; quality of care; race and ethnicity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American
  • Chronic Pain*
  • Humans
  • White People