A Cross-Cultural Study of Pain Intensity in Egyptian and Dutch Women With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Alexander P.J. Vlaar, Peter M. ten Klooster, Erik Taal, Rasha E. Gheith, Ayman K. El-Garf, Johannes J. Rasker, Mart A F J van de Laar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


It has been suggested that patients from Mediterranean cultures tend to report more intense pain than their Northern or Western European counterparts in comparable medical conditions. However, empirical data to support this hypothesis are limited. The goals of the present study were to examine differences in pain intensity reports between Dutch and Egyptian women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to examine the influence of possible confounding variables using multivariate analyses. We performed a cross-sectional study in 30 Dutch and 42 Egyptian women with comparable RA, matched for age and disease duration. Pain intensity was measured on a 100-mm graphic rating scale. Additionally, we assessed physical function, radiographic joint damage, progression of RA, disease activity, number of swollen and tender joints, medication, rheumatoid factor, and socioeconomic variables. The progression of RA and radiographic damage were not significantly different between Egyptian and Dutch patients. However, the Egyptian population reported significantly worse pain and physical function and demonstrated higher disease activity. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that the country of residence and the number of tender and swollen joints were significant independent determinants of pain reports. The results provide some support for the idea that there are ethnocultural differences in pain reports between Egyptian and Dutch women with RA, although the mechanisms underlying these differences remain unclear.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)730-736
JournalJournal of pain
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • graphic rating scale
  • Cross-cultural comparison
  • IR-78563
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • METIS-243048
  • Pain

Cite this