Dr Debbie Bean
Senior Research Fellow, Health & Rehabilitation Research Institute (AUT) & Department of Anaesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Te Whatu Ora - Waitematā, NZ
Debbie Bean is a Senior Research Fellow with a joint appointment across both the Health & Rehabilitation Research Institute (AUT) and Department of Anaesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine (Te Whatu Ora - Waitematā). Debbie’s research interests focus on understanding the interactions between psychological factors and pain. More specifically she has research streams investigating the social stigma of chronic pain, psychosocial aspects of complex regional pain syndrome, psychological treatment for the prevention and management of chronic pain and culture and equity in pain experience and management. Debbie is also a registered Health Psychologist with over a decade’s experience working in an interdisciplinary pain centre. She is actively engaged in supervising psychology trainees and provides guest lecturing to postgraduate rehabilitation and psychology students. Debbie is also chair of the Institute of Health Psychology, New Zealand Psychological Society and is an Honorary Senior Lecturer for the University of Auckland.
Addressing the Social Stigma of Chronic Pain
Stigma is defined as “stereotypes or negative views attributed to a person or groups of people when their characteristics or behaviors are viewed as different from, or inferior to societal norms”. People with chronic pain may experience stigma, in part due to the invisibility of pain and disbelief from others, overlap between pain and mental health problems and opioid use, and due to dualistic views of pain as either biomedical or psychological. This social stigma may be experienced as a result of the actions of employers and colleagues, healthcare professionals, friends and whānau, or members of the public, and people with chronic pain may experience internalised stigma or stigma directed at the self. Stigma may, in turn, lead people to conceal their pain from others or avoid situations and activities, leading to disability, depression and limiting social support. Therefore, social stigma is a crucial area of interest for pain clinicians to understand and address. This talk will discuss the emerging literature on chronic pain stigma and methods for increasing public knowledge and support for people living with chronic pain.