This study aimed at analyzing the trend of research on pain in Korea, suggesting direction future pain research,
and contributing to the use of pain interventions in nursing practice. Research studies on pain were selected from
journals of medical and nursing schools, the Korean Nurse, the Korean Nurses' Academic Society Journal, the
Central Journal of Medicine, the New Medical Journal, and from theses and dissertations, which were conducted
between 1970 and 1994. The total number of the studies was 93. These studies were analyzed for 1) time of
publication or presentation, 2) thesis for a degree or nondegree, 3) research design, 4) characteristics of subjects
used in each study, 5) measurement tool, 6) types of correlated variables, 7) Korean terms for pain, 8) types of
nursing interventions, and 9) results of studies.
The findings of the analysis can be summerized as follows :
1) The number of studies related to pain has increased rapidly since the early 1980's. The number of
experimental research studies related to pain has increased chronologically, but the number of survey research
studies related to pain was highest from 1981 to 1985, after that it decreased slowly.
2) The subjects in 19 studies were healthy people and, in 73 studies, patients with various illnesses. Thirty two
studies were conducted with surgical patients.
3) Sixty one pain research studies were done for a thesis for a degree and 32 were nondegree research studies.
4) As measurement tools for pain, self-report pain scales were used in 54 studies and more than two tools were
used in 28 studies. In the experimental studies, the trend was to use more than two tools. And in the
nonexperimental studies, the trend was to use self-report pain scales only.
5) There were 11 correlational studies. In these studies, the trend was to study anxiety, depression and variables
such as intravenous infusion as related to pain.
6) In the thirty six experimental studies, the effects of 16 types of nursing interventions were
tested. Teaching and information, and relaxation technique were the most popular interventions for pain.
7) In eighteen methodological studies, the majority were studies testing the validity and reliability of Dr. Lee's
Korean Pain Rating Questionnaire.
The following suggestions are made based on the above findings :
1) The patterns of these studies related to pain in Korea need to be compared with trends in other countries.
2) Meta-analysis should be done to analyze and integrate the results of various studies.
3) This analysis of pain research is needed to identify the present trend of pain research and to suggest the
direction of future pain research, so these patterns of studies should be done in 5 to 10 year intervals.
4) More replicated pain research is needed to prove the effect of nursing interventions and more qualitative reserch
on pain is needed to identify indepth the meaning of pain.
5) Pain researchers should make an effort to apply research result in various clinical settings and try to carry out
team research with clinical nurses or with other multidiscipinary researchers.