Grown-ups take little girls’ pain less seriously, Yale study says

January 29, 2019  20:34

Gender biases are hurting women, both mentally and physically.

A Yale University study published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology earlier this month found that American adults tend to take young boys more seriously than girls when they exhibit similar signs of physical pain.

The researchers believe that certain gender stereotypes could be to blame, such as the idea that boys are more reserved and girls are just more dramatic.

The team asked a diverse sample of adults to watch a video of a 5-year-old receiving a finger-stick from a doctor, named either “Samuel” or “Samantha.”

The child in the video was the same regardless of name, which served only to indicate gender assignment to the two groups of adults. After watching the video, the participants were asked to assess how much pain they thought the child was experiencing.

Even though the “hurt” was identical in every video, “Samuel” was perceived to be in more pain than “Samantha.” Past studies on gender biases observing clinical assessment of pain support these new findings, but this is only the second report to look at how this stereotyping affects children.

Researchers are especially concerned about the implications of gender bias in medical settings.

“If the phenomena that we observed in our studies generalize to other contexts, it would have important implications for diagnosis and treatment,” says one study author and Yale student Joshua Monrad in a statement. “Any biases in judgments about pain would be hugely important because they can exacerbate inequitable health-care provision.”

Source: New York Post

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