AMBIVALENCE OVER EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION AND PAIN SENSITIVITY: A CROSS-CULTURAL COMPARISON
Lee, Tammy Y.
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Pain is universally understood and frequently experienced. It is a complex phenomenon with multidimensional aspects, making it a highly subjective experience. Its prevalence and impact on socio-ecological levels are likely to continue increasing. Yet, most of what we comprehend about pain comes from a biomedical standpoint, leaving gaps in the full understanding of pain from a broader biopsychosocial perspective. Thus, it is imperative to expand the scope of knowledge of pain and its underlying mechanisms. With more insight into the range of experiences of pain, the hope is for better prevention and treatment of painful conditions – that are better personalized and culturally relevant – in the future. The objectives of this study were to gather a better understanding of the associations of the pain experience from a psycho-socio-emotional perspective. More specifically, with a focus on the variables of pain sensitivity (PS) and ambivalence over emotional expression (AEE), embedded within the context of culturally distinct self-identified values (VS), and the extent to which these associations differ cross-culturally. Responses were obtained from participants via a series of questionnaires online in Singapore (Sample 1) and the United States (Sample 2), forming two culturally separate samples. The measures used per the variables of interest were scores from the Asian Values Scale-Revised, Ambivalence over Emotional Expression, and Pain Sensitivity Questionnaire. The responses were analyzed and compared using SPSS with univariate analysis of variance and linear regression. Results showed mixed findings and patterns of observation. Levels of AEE were significantly higher in Sample 1, F(1, 67) = 2.98, p = .09, to a medium effect size, and Sample 1 consistently scored higher on levels of PS. The samples endorsed opposite directions of associations for VS and PS, while endorsing similar directions in associations for VS and AEE. Patterns of associations between AEE and PS varied depending on the samples. The overall relations among variables may be more complex than originally conceptualized. Several factors and limitations that might have influenced the outcome were discussed, along with considerations for refinement of future research directions.