The Frequency of Different Types of Discomfort and the Types of Medication Used
Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
JOHNSON, H. A. (1999). The Frequency of Different Types of Discomfort and the Types of Medication Used. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 2. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved April 25, 2017 .

The Frequency of Different Types of Discomfort and the Types of Medication Used
HEATHER A. JOHNSON
Missouri Western State University DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (cronk@missouriwestern.edu)
ABSTRACT
There are many different types of pain and discomfort that an individual is able to experience. There are also many different ways that a person is able to choose to treat these discomforts and pains. The different types of pain and discomfort looked at in this study consist of headaches, muscle soreness, menstrual pain, cold/flu, and allergies. The different ways that an individual can choose to treat these problems are with nothing, a non-prescription, or over-the-counter, medication, a prescription medication, or some other type of treatment such as herbal supplements or sleep. The frequencies that will be looked at will be how often (almost never, sometimes, a lot) the individual experienced the pain or discomfort in the last three months. The findings of this experiment show that other than using nothing as a treatment for the pain or discomfort, non-prescription medications were used the most. One-way ANOVA`s were conducted for the effects of frequency on medication use for the five types of discomfort and the four treatments. There were significant and non-significant results found.

INTRODUCTION
It has been known for many years that there are many types of pain and discomfort that a person is able to experience, it has also been known that there are many ways to treat this pain and discomfort. As we have gotten closer to the end of the century there are hundreds of new over-the- counter analgesics available to us. There are many ways that a person may choose to treat their pain and discomfort. There are those who do not use any type of treatment. Then there are those that may not feel comfortable going to the doctor`s office, therefore they use over-the-counter, or non-prescription, medications. It is also possible to visit the doctor`s office and get a prescription. As the century has progressed, it has also become popular to use herbs or other alternative sources of treatment. Some very common types of pain and discomfort than an individual may use medication or treatment for are headaches, muscle soreness, menstrual pain, cold/flu, and allergies. These are all symptoms that everyone treats differently based on how frequently they are experienced and how sever the pain/discomfort is. Acetaminophen is the most commonly used over-the-counter analgesic with headaches, sore muscles, and menstrual pain (Chambers & Reid, 1997). As more and more medications are being created and becoming available in over-the-counter strengths, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are still the top two over-the-counter analgesics to treat pain and discomfort (Abbott & Fraser, 1998). It has gotten to the point that no matter how extreme the pain, they are the drugs that are used for everything. There are so many options to choose from that acetaminophen and ibuprofen are the ones that the consumer feels the most comfortable with (Consumer Reports on Health, 1999). Over-the-counter analgesics are very popular. The two uses of over-the-counter analgesics are to alleviate aches and pains, and the other is to treat stress, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances (Abbott & Fraser, 1998). The latter of the two is borderline use and abuse. There are not many over-the-counter analgesics to treat things like depression and stress, but Horgas & Tsai (1998) found that pain is sometimes associated with depression and sleep disturbances.When treating illnesses, it has been shown that 70% of them are treated with over-the-counter analgesics rather than a visit to the doctor`s office (Chambers & Reid, 1997). Sometimes even extreme pain is not enough to send a person to the doctor`s office; they wait for it to get so bad that they have to go to the hospital. There are many individuals that have particular belief on what they should and should not take to treat their ailments. There are individuals with very high pain tolerances and therefore do not take anything no matter how extreme or dull the pain is that they are experiencing. There are others that run to the doctor`s office every time they have a small pain or cough. Every individual is different in how they handle their pain and discomfort. This experiment is going to look at the frequency of how often an individual experienced five different types of pain and discomfort in the last three months. It is also going to look at, based on the frequency, what the individual chooses to treat their pain and discomfort with: nothing, non-prescription medication, prescription medication or something else. more often than not, I predict that non-prescription medications will be used more than any other kind of treatment based on my research.The purpose of this study is to determine how often an individual may experience pain and discomfort and the form of treatment they choose to use. I think that over-the-counter analgesics will be used the most no matter how often the individual experiences the pain or discomfort. They are the easiest to obtain and do not cost a lot of money compared to prescription medications.


METHOD
MethodParticipants The participants that I used for this experiment will come from general psychology courses at Missouri Western State College. They consisted of both males and females of all ages. There were 54 participant total. The participants received extra-credit from their professor.MaterialsI used one survey to gather my information. This survey was something I created to find the information I was interested in. I asked question about the frequency of pain and discomfort they may or may not have experienced in the last three month, and I also asked about the treatment they used. This survey was called the medication survey. An example I shown in the Appendix.Procedure While conducting this experiment I debriefed all of the participants before they completed the surveys. I answered all of the questions they had. I gave them all the time they needed to fill out the survey then I collected them.


RESULTS
ResultsFor this experiment a one-way ANOVA was conducted looking at the effect of frequency of treatment used for the five types of discomfort and the four treatment options. Out of 20, there were 9 significant findings. There was a significant effect found among those experiencing headaches using prescription medication (F(2,51)=4.37, p<.05). There was a significant effect found among those experiencing headaches using no treatment (F(2,51)=17.87, p<.05). There was a significant effect among those experiencing headaches using non-prescription medication (F(2,51)=8.66, p<.05). There were no significant effects found with those experiencing muscle soreness and the treatments they used. There was a significant effect found among those experiencing menstrual pain using no treatment (F(2,33)=8.72, p<05). There was a significant effect among those experiencing menstrual pain using non-prescription medication (F(2,33)=4.57, p<.05). There was a similarity in the significant effects between menstrual pain and headaches. There was significant effect found in those experiencing cold/flu symptoms using no treatment (F(3,50)=7.87, p<.05). There was a non-significant tendency for those experiencing cold/flu symptoms using non-prescription medication and other treatment. There was a significant effect for those experiencing allergies using no treatment (F(2,51)=20.67, p<.05). There was a significant effect for those experiencing allergies using non-prescription medication (F(2,51)=6.34, p<.05). There was a significant effect for those experiencing allergies using prescription medication (F(2,51)=6.27, p<.05). There was no significance for any pain type and other type of treatment.


DISCUSSION
DiscussionAlthough not all the results of this experiment were significant, some of them were. Some of the significant findings were that an individual is more likely not to use any kind of treatment when they experience the pain or discomfort almost never. In most cases it was also significant for individual to use non-prescription medication when experiencing the pain or discomfort sometimes or a lot. The treatment category `other` was rarely used and therefore did not provide any significant findings.There were significant effects with non-prescription medications, or over-the-counter medications, when experiencing headache, menstrual pain, and allergies. These findings supported the research I gathered from Chambers & Reid (1997). Non-prescription medication or over-the-counter medications were used more than any other treatment besides nothing. They were used more frequently as medication than prescription medication. Non-prescription medications were indeed more often used than prescription medications. These non-prescription medications include acetaminophen and ibuprofen although I did not ask the participant to specify what medication they used. Research suggested that over-the-counter analgesics were used to alleviate aches and pain and in this case it was true.There are many things that can be done to better this experiment. It would have been more interesting to focus on one specific age group rather than one full of various ages. There may be more specific trends to be found when dealing with individual in their 20`s compared to those in their 50`s. It would also be interesting to conduct this experiment with children to find out whether they treat themselves and if their parents get involved in their pain or discomfort. It would also be interesting to determine the pain tolerance of the participants. There are many individuals with different pain tolerance and the treatment they use would be different. There may be different significant finding to be found when comparing someone with a high pain tolerance using a prescription medication to someone with a low pain tolerance using prescription medication. There are so many things to vary in this experiment to find many different things. Getting more into depth, I thought it would be very interesting to determine various type of medication that the participants were using. To find out whether or not acetaminophen and ibuprofen were indeed the most widely used over-the-counter analgesic. Prescription and non-prescription medications can be put into group of medication in which they are similar. There are many individuals that use the same medication for different purpose. For example, some use acetaminophen for fever, while some use it for headache, and others use it for sleep. Another thing to better this experiment would be to make sure the participant understands how to complete the survey. Some of the participants did not have any respect for the turnout of the experiment. They understood that they had to fill in percentages, but they do not do so accurately. It is important to explain the importance of the percentages. This experiment could be replicated at any time in any place. All individuals are somewhat set in their way of the type of treatment they use for different ailments There is a possibility of a better response with cold/flu symptoms if this experiment was conducted in the winter months. There is also a possibility of a better response with allergies if this experiment is conducted in the spring and summer months. There are many ways to alter this experiment. That choice is up to the experimenter and the results they are hoping to find. All in all, there was a frequency of different rate determined. There were different treatments to choose from and they ended up being significant in some cases. In other cases there was no significance, that is where someone could start to better this experiment.


APPENDIX
HeadachesHow many times have you experienced this type of pain in the last 3 months? Almost Never Sometimes A Lot

In general, what percentage of the time did you treat your pain with each of the following methods?_______ Nothing_______ Non-prescription pain medication (eg: Tylenol, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.)_______ Prescription pain medication_______ Other (eg: sleep, herbal supplements, relaxation, etc.)

Muscle SorenessHow many times have you experienced this type of pain in the last 3 months? Almost Never Sometimes A Lot

In general, what percentage of the time did you treat your pain with each of the following methods?_______Nothing_______Non-prescription pain medication (eg: Tylenol, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.)_______Prescription pain medication_______Other (eg: sleep, herbal supplements, relaxation, etc.)

MenstrualHow many times have you experienced this type of pain in the last 3 months? Almost Never Sometimes A Lot

In general, what percentage of the time did you treat your pain with each of the following methods?_______Nothing_______Non-prescription pain medication (eg: Tylenol, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.)_______Prescription pain medication_______Other (eg: sleep, herbal supplements, relaxation, etc.)

Cold/Flu SymptomsHow many times have you experienced this type of discomfort in the last 3 months? Almost Never Sometimes A Lot

In general, what percentage of the time did you treat your discomfort with each of the following methods?_______Nothing_______Non-prescription medication (eg: Tylenol, Benadryl, Comtrex, etc.)_______Prescription pain medication_______Other (eg: sleep, herbal supplements, relaxation, etc.)

AllergiesHow many times have you experienced this type of discomfort in the last 3 months? Almost Never Sometimes A Lot

In general, what percentage of the time did you treat your discomfort with each of the following methods?_______Nothing_______Non-prescription medication (eg: Sudafed, Benadryl, etc.)_______Prescription allergy medication_______Other (eg: sleep, herbal supplements, relaxation, etc.)

Age:_______

Gender: Male Female


REFERENCES
Abbot, F. V., Fraser, M.I. (1998). Use and abuse of over-the-counter analgesic agents. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 23, 13-34.Chambers, C.T., Reid, G.J. (1997). Self-administration of over-the-counter medication for pain among adolescents. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 151, 449-456.Horgas, A.L., Tsai, P.F. (1998). Analgesic drug prescription and use in cognitively impaired nursing home residents. Nursing Research, 47, 235-241. (1999). Pain relievers: Painful choice? Consumer Reports on Health, 11, 6-8.

Submitted 12/2/99 12:10:40 PM
Last Edited 12/2/99 12:28:22 PM
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