Gender stereotypes influence how American adults view pain symptoms in girls

Gender stereotypes can hurt children — quite literally. When asked to assess how much pain a child is experiencing based on the observation of identical reactions to a finger-stick, American adults believe boys to be in more pain than girls, according to a new Yale study in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. The researchers attribute this downgrading of the pain of girls and/or upgrading of the pain of boys to culturally ingrained, and scientifically unproven, myths like “boys are more stoic” or “girls are more emotive.”

A diverse sample of American adults watched the same video of a 5-year-old receiving a finger-stick at a pre-Kindergarten doctor’s visit, and afterwards were asked to rate how much pain they thought the child was actually experiencing. While all participants watched an identical video of an identical child exhibiting identical pain-display behaviors, the group who knew the child as “Samuel” said he was in more pain than the group who knew her as “Samantha.” This new research backs up studies done on gender stereotyping and biased clinical assessment of pain in adult patient populations but is only the second of its kind to take these questions to the pediatric level.

“We really hope that these findings will lead to further investigation into the potential role of biases in pain assessment and health care more generally,” said Joshua Monrad ’20, second author on the study. “If the phenomena that we observed in our studies generalize to other contexts, it would have important implications for diagnosis and treatment. Any biases in judgments about pain would be hugely important because they can exacerbate inequitable health care provision.”

This study was funded by the Yale University Department of Psychology. Other authors include Brian Earp, Marianne LaFrance, John Bargh, Lindsey Cohen, and Jennifer Richeson.

Story Source: Read this article on Science Daily –> Yale University. “Psychologists find that adults take girls’ pain less seriously.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 2019. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190125172947.htm.

You Might Also Enjoy...

PRP: Is It Safe?

The goal of regenerative medicine is to tap the powerful resources already found within the human body. And this is certainly true of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. But is this approach to healing safe?

Am I a Candidate for Cortisone Injections?

If you’re among the millions of Americans who struggle with joint pain, cortisone injections hold the key to regaining pain-free movement. Here’s a look at this first-line treatment option and whether you’re a candidate.

Understanding Cervical Radiculopathy

When one of the nerves in your neck is compressed, not only can it cause local problems, but symptoms can radiate out toward your arms and hands as well. Called cervical radiculopathy, here’s a look at how the issue develops.

Help! I Hurt All Over!

Every day you get out of bed, hoping this will be the day that pain won’t get in your way. Yet, the pain persists. Here’s a look at the most common culprits when it comes to widespread pain, and what we can do about them.

5 Tips for Preventing Neck Pain

While many situations in life can be considered a pain in the neck, actual neck pain can limit your life in significant ways. Here are five tips that go a long way toward preventing and remedying neck pain.

Living Better With Arthritis

Arthritis, in all its many forms, can be a frustrating condition to live with — mostly because there’s no cure. That said, there are some effective ways for better managing joint disease, allowing you to remain healthy and active.