Do Adults View Boy Pain and Girl Pain Differently?

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When it comes to pain in children, gender stereotypes persist, say researchers at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut: “Boys are more stoic,” “Girls are more emotional.”

For their study, Yale researchers showed adults a video of a 5-year-old child’s reaction to the pain of having a finger-stick at the doctor’s office. In one study group, the child was identified as “Samuel,” and in the other group, the child was identified as “Samantha.” The adults were then asked to estimate how much pain the child experienced. Study participants who knew the child as Samuel estimated he was in more pain than those who knew the child as Samantha, even though the videos were identical.

According to the researchers, this study is just the second of its kind performed at the pediatric level, and it supports previous ones examining gender stereotypes and bias surrounding the clinical assessment of pain in adults. Incorrectly assessing pain can have important implications for proper diagnosis and treatment of medical problems.

Sourced from: Journal of Pediatric Psychology