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Juju is Not the Cause of My Pain: Pain Beliefs of the Igbo in the United States Miriam O. Ezenwa, MS, RN, Erica O’Brien, BSN, RN, Molly Hanson, BS, Sandra Ward, PhD, RN, FAAN. ABSTRACT. MATERIALS AND METHODS. RESULTS.
Juju is Not the Cause of My Pain: Pain Beliefs of the Igbo in the United States
Miriam O. Ezenwa, MS, RN, Erica O’Brien, BSN, RN, Molly Hanson, BS, Sandra Ward, PhD, RN, FAAN
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Ethnicity has been recognized as a factor that may influence pain expression, pain experiences, and the meanings ascribed to pain. The purpose of this study was to explore pain beliefs of the Igbo (a Nigerian ethnic group) in the U.S. Participants (N=10) completed the General Ethnicity Questionnaire-Igbo (GEQI, alpha = 0.88), a measure of acculturation (or conversely, heritage consistency), and were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide, with questions derived from the Common Sense Model (CSM) of Illness Representation. The interview data were analyzed using content analysis. Kappa coefficient (k), was 0.94, demonstrating high agreement between the two coders. Participants ranged in age from 19 to over 65, and their mean (SD) years in the U.S. was 16.10 (8.33). Participants had high heritage consistency with a mean (SD) GEQI of 4.06 (0.40). While only one participant (10%) reported a belief that witchcraft (juju) was a cause of his/her pain, 90% believed that juju can cause pain. Sixty percent of participants used a folk remedy for pain treatment and all used over-the-counter pain medication. The findings suggest that the Igbo in the United States have modified their illness beliefs, which was reflected in their coping strategies, even though they had remained highly tied to their culture of origin.
Cross-sectional, descriptive, using individual interviews
Participants had high heritage consistency with mean (SD) of 4.06 (0.40), indicating they have maintained Igbo cultural beliefs.
Sample Characteristics (N=10)
Types of pain
stay in the United States.
General Ethnicity Questionnaire-Igbo (GEQI)
pain-any type of pain- by putting juju (curse) on them, or by invoking their spirits
through witchcraft or sorcery. What is your belief about that?
Ethnicity has been recognized as a factor that may influence pain expression, pain experiences, and the meanings ascribed to pain. Pain management investigators have extended research efforts to members of many ethnic groups in the U.S., but have not studied many of the ethnic groups found within the African Diaspora in the United States. One such ethnic group is the Igbo, an ethnic group from Nigeria. In order for optimal care to be a possibility for all, it is critical that we understand the pain experiences from the perspectives of the persons experiencing them.
The purpose of this descriptive study is to explore pain beliefs of the Igbo, an ethnic group from Nigeria, in the United States.
Susan Hughes, MS, RN, Researcher, UW-Madison School of Nursing
Leventhal’s Common Sense Model, a conceptual framework that focuses on understanding lay beliefs about the causes and cure/control available for symptoms such as pain, was used in this study to understand the Igbo’s beliefs about the origins of and potential cures/control for pain.
Tsai, J.L., Ying, Y., & Lee, P.A. (2000). The meaning of “being Chinese” and “being American.” Journal of Cross-cultural
Psychology, (3)31, 320-332.