Gender Differences in Pain Perception: The Mediating Role of Self-Efficacy Beliefs

Gender Differences in Pain Perception: The Mediating Role of Self-Efficacy Beliefs The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which the gender differences in response to the cold pressor test (CPT) are mediated by self-efficacy beliefs. One hundred twelve college undergraduates (69 women and 43 men) engaged in CPT and completed self-report measures of demographic information, physical self-efficacy (i.e., expectations about one's overall physical capabilities), and task-specific self-efficacy (i.e., beliefs about one's ability to cope successfully with the upcoming CPT). In addition, participants provided subjective ratings of pain intensity every 30 s during CPT and were evaluated for tolerance during CPT (up to 4 min). Consistent with past research, men reported lower average subjective ratings of pain intensity and showed higher tolerance for CPT. Path analyses indicated that associations between gender and pain perception were fully mediated by self-efficacy beliefs. Men reported greater physical self-efficacy and task-specific self-efficacy than women did. In turn, higher task-specific self-efficacy ratings predicted increases in tolerance for pain and lower ratings of average pain intensity. Findings indicate that self-efficacy beliefs are one factor that accounts for gender differences in responses to painful stimulation. Future researchers should evaluate conditions under which heightened self-efficacy may be beneficial and harmful, and they should employ experimental designs that incorporate opportunities for use of both communal–interpersonal and individualistic coping strategies in light of possible gender differences in preferred approaches to coping with pain. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sex Roles Springer Journals

Gender Differences in Pain Perception: The Mediating Role of Self-Efficacy Beliefs

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Subject
Psychology; Gender Studies; Sociology, general; Medicine/Public Health, general
ISSN
0360-0025
eISSN
1573-2762
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1022077922593
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which the gender differences in response to the cold pressor test (CPT) are mediated by self-efficacy beliefs. One hundred twelve college undergraduates (69 women and 43 men) engaged in CPT and completed self-report measures of demographic information, physical self-efficacy (i.e., expectations about one's overall physical capabilities), and task-specific self-efficacy (i.e., beliefs about one's ability to cope successfully with the upcoming CPT). In addition, participants provided subjective ratings of pain intensity every 30 s during CPT and were evaluated for tolerance during CPT (up to 4 min). Consistent with past research, men reported lower average subjective ratings of pain intensity and showed higher tolerance for CPT. Path analyses indicated that associations between gender and pain perception were fully mediated by self-efficacy beliefs. Men reported greater physical self-efficacy and task-specific self-efficacy than women did. In turn, higher task-specific self-efficacy ratings predicted increases in tolerance for pain and lower ratings of average pain intensity. Findings indicate that self-efficacy beliefs are one factor that accounts for gender differences in responses to painful stimulation. Future researchers should evaluate conditions under which heightened self-efficacy may be beneficial and harmful, and they should employ experimental designs that incorporate opportunities for use of both communal–interpersonal and individualistic coping strategies in light of possible gender differences in preferred approaches to coping with pain.

Journal

Sex RolesSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 13, 2004

References

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