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Journal of Pediatric Psychology: Gender Bias in Pediatric Pain Assessment

Discussion in 'Other psychosomatic news and research' started by Ravn, Jan 27, 2019.

  1. Ravn

    Ravn Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Aotearoa New Zealand
    Gender Bias in Pediatric Pain Assessment
    Journal of Pediatric Psychology, jsy104, https://doi.org/10.1093/jpepsy/jsy104
    Brian D Earp et al, Published: 04 January 2019 (Paywall)
    Could this explain my first experience of being dismissed by the medical profession?

    At age 9 I fell off a horse. Complained of a sore arm. Was taken to the doctor who diagnosed bruising, x-ray deemed unnecessary.

    Continued complaining the next week or so about arm. Taken back to the doctor. Bruising much reduced, told to “be a big girl”, x-ray again deemed unnecessary.

    Continued complaining another week or so. Taken back to the doctor, this time by a friend's mother, one of those scary human bulldozer types. She told the doctor “I know this girl, she's tough as nails. If she says she's sore she is sore. I'm not leaving the clinic till she's had an x-ray”.

    Three outcomes. One, with that short statement she had earned my eternal devotion: she alone had seen I had been being a “big girl” all along. Two, I got that x-ray. Three, I was treated for the broken arm I had had all along.
  2. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Similarly my daughter broke bones in her wrist / arm after a fall in the playground when she was 10. Her knee was a mess and diverted staff attention so it took an hour or so for them to phone after she complained about wrist pain.

    OH arrived. Complained that she had been left with another 10 year old over lunch when there was risk of shock. Took to A and E.
    Doctor examined, not broken , tissue damage.
    After some discussion an x ray was taken , after which the doctor apologized as he realised his examination would have been extremely painful as there were broken bones.

    Sometimes telling your children to " be brave" is potentially counterproductive.
  3. ahimsa

    ahimsa Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Oregon, USA
    Moderator note: Merged thread.

    Americans take the pain of girls less seriously than that of boys, a new study finds


    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2019
  4. Roy S

    Roy S Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Illinois, USA
    also from that article-

    "In a finding that surprised the paper’s authors, the downgrading of female pain was driven by female participants, who were more likely than men to say that the pain of the subject was less severe when told she was a girl."

    "In the new study, the gender of the young patient had no effect on assessments offered by 156 male participants, among several hundred who viewed the video."
  5. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I was taught from a very young age that expressing pain made me a "naughty" child. I would sometimes be punished or threatened with punishment if I made what my parents thought was "too much fuss" or "made a fuss about nothing". I was accused at various times in childhood and adulthood of being an attention-seeker, a wimp, or a liar by all sorts of people, including doctors.

    If girls get that kind of indoctrination from infancy onwards then of course many adult women will assume that those same characteristics apply to other females expressing pain or distress. Anyone with chronic health problems is likely to learn that this is nonsense, eventually. But for those who don't suffer chronic illness nothing is likely to disturb the early indoctrination.

    The idea that women complain more about less severe pain is like a meme that carries on throughout societies and cultures all over the world through generation after generation. I don't see it being changed any time soon. Presumably parts of the brain "light up" when people are in pain, and some inventor will invent a gadget to measure pain. When everyone can carry their own pain measurement device around with them and show it to people then maybe people will start to take women's pain as seriously as men's pain.
  6. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    So you went two weeks with an untreated broken arm? :arghh:
  7. Ravn

    Ravn Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Aotearoa New Zealand
    Correct. Did wonders for my street cred as a tough kid though ;)
  8. Cheshire

    Cheshire Moderator Staff Member

    Sly Saint, ahimsa, Ravn and 2 others like this.

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