Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 227--234

Attitudes and beliefs about chronic pain among nurses- biomedical or behavioral? A cross-sectional survey

1 Department of Physiotherapy, Manipal College of Allied Health Sciences, (Bangalore Campus), Manipal, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Orthopaedics, Manipal Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Statistics, Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka, India
4 Manipal College of Nursing, Manipal University, Bangalore, India
5 Department of Physiotherapy, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Senthil P Kumar
Department of Physiotherapy, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Mangalore, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.92341

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Context: Studies have documented that nurses and other health care professionals are inadequately prepared to care for patients in chronic pain. Several reasons have been identified including inadequacies in nursing education, absence of curriculum content related to pain management, and attitudes and beliefs related to chronic pain. Aims: The objective of this paper was to assess the chronic pain-related attitudes and beliefs among nursing professionals in order to evaluate the biomedical and behavioral dimensions of their perceptions on pain. Settings and Design: Cross-sectional survey of 363 nurses in a multispecialty hospital. Materials and Methods: The study utilized a self-report questionnaire - pain attitudes and beliefs scale (PABS) - which had 31 items (statements about pain) for each of which the person had to indicate the level at which he or she agreed or disagreed with each statement. Factor 1 score indicated a biomedical dimension while factor 2 score indicated a behavioral dimension to pain. Statistical Analysis Used: Comparisons across individual and professional variables for both dimensions were done using one-way ANOVA and correlations were done using the Karl-Pearson co-efficient using SPSS version 11.5 for Windows. Results: The overall factor 1 score was 52.95 ± 10.23 and factor 2 score was 20.93 ± 4.72 (P = 0.00). The female nurses had a higher behavioral dimension score (21.1 ± 4.81) than their male counterparts (19.55 ± 3.67) which was significant at P< 0.05 level. Conclusions: Nurses had a greater orientation toward the biomedical dimension of chronic pain than the behavioral dimension. This difference was more pronounced in female nurses and those nurses who reported "very good" general health had higher behavioral dimension scores than those who had "good" general health. The study findings have important curricular implications for nurses and practical implications in palliative care.


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