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This study examined the relationship between ethnicity and pain The study addressed three major research questions The first question asked whether there was a significant difference in Mexican American women's and Anglo American women's response to cholecystectomy pain Secondly, the nurses’ attribution of pain to each of the two ethnic groups was compared Finally, the patient's evaluation of the pain being experienced was compared to the nurse's evaluation of the pain the patient was experiencing The sample consisted of 60 patient subjects and 60 nurse responses Data were collected at two major teaching hospitals in southern California Patient pain was measured using the McGill Pain Questionnaire, amount of analgesics and three physiological measures The nurse's assessment of patient pain was measured using the Present Pain Intensity scale MANOVA was used to analyse differences between the two ethnic groups on all measures of pain and no significant differences were found between the two ethnic groups on any of the measures of pain However, nurses judged the two ethnic groups’ pain response differently, assigning more pain to Anglo Americans Finally, a dependent t-test was used to compare nurses’ and patients’ evaluation of pain There were significant differences Nurses evaluated the patients’ pain as being less than patients did Pearson product-moment correlations were used to examine the relationship between pain and sample characteristics of both patients and nurses For the nurses, pain was significantly related to the patient's education, place of birth, language and religion