Pain myths among clinicians may heighten racial disparities

Racial disparities in pain management may come down to individual clinicians' biases and misconceptions, according to a survey published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A survey of medical students and residents found large numbers of white respondents believe myths that black people have a greater capacity for pain than white people and/or that their blood coagulates more quickly. "The good news is that individuals who do not endorse these false beliefs do not show any evidence of racial bias in treatment recommendations," lead author Kelly Hoffman, a UVA psychology Ph.D. candidate, said in a statement. "Future work will need to test whether challenging these beliefs could lead to better treatment and outcomes for black patients." Study abstract