Painful News About Women & Pain

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm

A recent study about pain attempts to debunk the commonly held belief that women have a higher pain tolerance than men. In a recent blog post, Dan Ariely, reported on a study whose conclusion, based on patients’ self reports, that women rate pain 20% higher than men.

To me, this does not debunk the commonly held belief about women and pain primarily because these are self reports. Women may be more willing to admit pain & less willing to “tough it out.” Second, men may be willing to underreport the amount of pain in order to not seem weak. So I continue to agree with Dr. Ariel’s teacher that women have a higher tolerance for pain.

  1. I agree with you, Ida. It seems to me this statistic describes one thing out of context. Perhaps men more easily ask for help. Perhaps women live with pain longer before seeking help. Both of these suggestions could be based on men having more money or better health insurance or both, to even seek medical intervention. The interpretation presented in the article is not supported by any evidence I can see!

  2. I think the subjectiveness of the study undermines any kind of conclusive data that might be gleaned from it. There are varying types and degrees of pain that, along with cultural and situational circumstances, help dictate “how much” pain can be tolerated. As such, I similarly disagree with the original assertion that childbirth is proof that women can tolerate more pain than men.

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