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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

April Vallerand


Statement of the Problem

The purpose of these studies was to determine the influence of neighborhood disorder on pain-related function as mediated by perceived control over pain in urban residing African Americans. Neighborhood disorder is characterized by physical and social features of a neighborhood that may signal the breakdown of order and social control, and may include high poverty, increased crime, poor building condition, housing instability, and low educational levels of residents. Current knowledge in chronic pain research is extended by addressing gaps linking neighborhood disorder and perceived control over pain as a mediator to pain-related function. This research has shown that as pain severity decreases, pain-related function increases. Disparity in chronic pain is especially true of African Americans living in neighborhoods with high levels of disorder. For those who experience little control over adversities surrounding neighborhood disorder, perceived control over pain and resulting pain-related function may also be influenced.


Current research in this area examines the effect of perceived control over pain on pain-related function, with the addition of neighborhood disorder factors from census data of Detroit neighborhoods linked to parent study participants.


Prior research has confirmed a positive relationship between perceived control over pain and pain-related function, as well as a negative relationship between neighborhood disorder and perceived control over pain. Results of these studies examines the relationship between neighborhood disorder and pain-related function with perceived control over pain as a mediator.


This research improves understanding of population-specific perceived control over pain in African Americans residing in impoverished urban neighborhoods of high disorder, as well as understanding of neighborhood level factors influencing perceived control over pain. Continued interventional research in this areas is needed in hopes of reducing disparity in pain-related function among African Americans and among individuals residing in impoverished neighborhoods of high disorder.

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