Do We Judge Pain Differently for Boys and Girls? A New Study Says Yes
The running joke in our house is which is more painful, my wife giving birth or me with a cold? It should be no surprise which side I fall on - having a cold is no fun.
According to a new study, there really is a difference in how males and females are perceived to handle pain. Some would say boys have a tendency to "over exaggerate."
According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, society tends to judge children's pain differently depending on whether they're a girl or a boy.
For years, it's been perceived that men are better able to "handle pain without getting emotional," as opposed to women who tend to be more "emotional and nurturing."
However, researchers at Yale and Georgia State Universities found that adults perceive boys as having more pain and girls as having less, even when the pain is the same.
Video of a 5-year-old dressed in gender-neutral clothes undergoing a blood test was shown to 264 adults. For half the adults, the child was described as “Samuel” and for the other half as “Samantha.”
The “boy” was rated as experiencing more pain than the “girl,” even though the adults saw the same video. What they didn't know is the child was actually a girl the entire time.
The study's authors set it up so the child’s hair partially covered her face, which made determining her gender difficult.
After viewing the video, the participants were then asked about their own beliefs about gender and pain. Most didn't think there was any bias involved on their part.
The question now is, does the "perception of pain" affect how boys and girls are treated by doctors? That remains to be seen.
Source: Journal of Pediatric Psychology