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Stigmatization of Patients with Chronic Pain: The Extinction of Empathy


Cohen, M and Quintner, J and Buchanan, D and Nielsen, M and Guy, L, Stigmatization of Patients with Chronic Pain: The Extinction of Empathy, Pain Medicine, 12, (11) pp. 1637-1643. ISSN 1526-2375 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01264.x


Objective:  To address how health professionals may inadvertently contribute to the stigmatization of patients with chronic pain.

Setting:  Formulation and implementation of the Australian National Pain Strategy.

Design:  Review of current concepts of stereotyping and stigma, consideration of their relationship to empathy, and how they might impinge upon the clinical encounter.

Findings:  The extinction of empathy, which we refer to as "negative empathy," can overwhelm health professionals, allowing the entry of negative community stereotypes of chronic pain sufferers and add to their stigmatization. Prevailing dualistic frames of reference encourage this process.

Conclusion:  Greater awareness by health professionals of their own potential, often inadvertent, contribution to the stigmatization of their patients with chronic pain may serve as a basis for an expanded model of clinical engagement.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:chronic pain, stereotyping, stigma, empathy
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Nursing
Research Field:Nursing not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Health related to ageing
UTAS Author:Buchanan, D (Dr David Buchanan)
ID Code:75816
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:79
Deposited By:Health Sciences B
Deposited On:2012-02-16
Last Modified:2014-07-11
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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