Quiet about pain: experiences of Aboriginal people in two rural communities

Strong, Jenny, Nielsen, Mandy, Williams, Michael, Huggins, Jackie and Sussex, Roland (2015) Quiet about pain: experiences of Aboriginal people in two rural communities. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 23 3: 181-184. doi:10.1111/ajr.12185

Author Strong, Jenny
Nielsen, Mandy
Williams, Michael
Huggins, Jackie
Sussex, Roland
Title Quiet about pain: experiences of Aboriginal people in two rural communities
Journal name Australian Journal of Rural Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1440-1584
Publication date 2015-06
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/ajr.12185
Open Access Status
Volume 23
Issue 3
Start page 181
End page 184
Total pages 4
Place of publication Richmond, VIC Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract

This study explores communications experienced by Aboriginal people in health care encounters about pain. It examines barriers that can impact upon effective pain management for Aboriginal patients. (This article refers to Aboriginal people, as these were the study participants. It is not intended to exclude Torres Strait Islander people.)


A qualitative study using focus groups.


Two Aboriginal communities in South East Queensland.

The participants were 20 men and 20 women who identified a health condition with associated pain for which they had sought health care, including pain relief. Their conditions included arthritis, orthopaedic injuries, back pain and coronary artery disease.


Physical pains associated with participants' health conditions were accorded a second place to deep emotional pain attributed to dispossession, dislocation and loss. At health facilities, prominent perceptions were that health professionals held a negative attitude towards them, and lacked respect and caring. Participants experienced that the language used by health professionals in consultations was complex.


Aboriginal people often do not report pain, on the basis of previous negative encounters with the health system. Other perceived barriers to effective pain management included discriminatory attitudes of health professionals and communication problems.
Keyword Aboriginal health
General Indigenous health
Indigenous health education
Pain management
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Thu, 07 May 2015, 09:06:59 EST by Professor Jenny Strong on behalf of School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences