132 Annual Meeting Logo - Go to APHA Meeting Page  
APHA Logo - Go to APHA Home Page

Reflections of pain: Using photovoice to understand the psychosocial outcomes of chronic pain among older blacks and white

Tamara A. Baker, PhD, Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health, University of Michigan, 611 Church St., Room 221, Ann Arbor, MI 48104-3028, 734-615-4198, tamarab@umich.edu

Projected increase in the number of older adults in the United States has generated concern regarding the adverse impact certain medical conditions and symptoms have on the abilities of adults to function physically and psychologically. Chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and arthritis often lead to physical limitations, poor physical health, and psychological perturbations for many aged adults. Despite the prevalence of these medical conditions, chronic pain is not well-defined among older adults, particularly among those from diverse racial and ethnic populations. Although the biological sensations of pain are universal, the meaning and responses toward the pain experience differ across various racial and ethnic groups. Traditionally, quantitative measures have been used to account for these characteristics. Yet, few studies have employed qualitative methods to examine the psychosocial factors associated with chronic pain in older adults. One qualitative method, Photovoice, serves as a participatory needs assessment for patients, which avoids the distortion of fitting data into a predetermined model. This methodology enables researchers, medical professionals, and the lay population to become more knowledgeable about how individuals make meaning of the pain experience and what issues and personal concerns are important to the individual experiencing chronic pain. The goal of this study was to explore everyday life of older chronic pain patients from diverse racial groups through images and written narratives. The objectives were to qualitatively assess what everyday life is like with chronic pain and to facilitate a sampling of chronic pain patients from different social (clinical and community-based) and behavioral settings.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Photovoice, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Diversity Over the Life Course: Race, Ethnicity and Aging

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA