Making Pain Research More Inclusive: Why and How. Academic Article uri icon


  • Current knowledge about mechanisms and interventions for pain has largely been derived from samples that are healthier, wealthier, younger, and more likely to be White than the general population. Failure to conduct inclusive pain research not only restricts generalizability and application of findings, but also hampers the discovery of mechanisms and the development of measures and interventions that are valid across population subgroups. Most of all, inclusive practices are critical to ensure that underrepresented groups derive equitable benefit from pain research. Here, we provide guidance for the pain research community on how to adopt inclusive research practices. We define "inclusion" to encompass a range of identities and characteristics, including racialized group/ethnicity, disability status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and age. We first describe principles relevant to promoting inclusion in pain research, including attention to: 1) stakeholder engagement; 2) structural factors underlying inequities; 3) the limitations of "disparity" research; 4) intersectionality; and 5) universal design. Next, we provide checklists with practical strategies for making studies more inclusive at each stage of the research process. We conclude by calling for system-level changes to ensure that the future of pain research is socially just, scientifically productive, and responsive to the needs of all people. PERSPECTIVE: This paper offers guidance on promoting inclusion of underrepresented groups in pain research. We describe principles relevant to conducting more inclusive research; eg, attention to stakeholder engagement, structural factors, and universal design. We provide checklists with practical strategies for inclusion at each stage of the research process.

published proceedings

  • J Pain

altmetric score

  • 26.15

author list (cited authors)

  • Janevic, M. R., Mathur, V. A., Booker, S. Q., Morais, C., Meints, S. M., Yeager, K. A., & Meghani, S. H.

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Janevic, Mary R||Mathur, Vani A||Booker, Staja Q||Morais, Calia||Meints, Samantha M||Yeager, Katherine A||Meghani, Salimah H

publication date

  • May 2022