The roles of ethnicity, sex, and parental pain modeling in rating of experienced and imagined pain events

Jeff Boissoneault, Jennifer R. Bunch, Michael Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


To investigate the association of ethnicity, sex, and parental pain modeling on the evaluation of experienced and imagined painful events, 173 healthy volunteers (96 women) completed the Prior Pain Experience Questionnaire, a 79-question assessment of the intensity of painful events, and a questionnaire regarding exposure to parental pain models. Consistent with existing literature, greater ratings of experienced pain were noted among Black versus White participants. Parental pain modeling was associated with higher imagined pain ratings, but only when the parent matched the participant’s sex. This effect was greater among White and Asian participants than Black or Hispanic participants, implying ethno-cultural effects may moderate the influence of pain modeling on the evaluation of imagined pain events. The clinical implications of these findings, as well as the predictive ability of imagined pain ratings for determining future experiences of pain, should be investigated in future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)809-816
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 21 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the participants of the study for their willingness to participate, and thank Dr. Meryl Alappattu for her helpful comments on the manuscript. This research was supported by the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida. Dr. Boissoneault is supported by NINDS training Grant T32NS045551 to the University of Florida Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Ethnicity
  • Family history
  • Pain
  • Pain models
  • Sex


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