Gender differences in the experience of pain dismissal in adolescence

J Child Health Care. 2017 Dec;21(4):381-391. doi: 10.1177/1367493517727132. Epub 2017 Aug 28.


This study examined physician-generated pain dismissal experiences in adolescence between males and females. Young adults (ages 18-24, N = 178) with chronic or recurrent pain reported at least one pain dismissal experience in adolescence and answered a series of questions regarding the experience during this time period. Females were significantly more likely to report pain dismissal and a physician as the dismisser. Males were more likely to report that the dismisser expressed hostility toward them, feeling ambivalent regarding the dismissal experience, and a desire to avoid the dismisser. Females were more likely to report a desire to plead for understanding with the dismisser. Results suggest that female adolescents are more likely to report a pain dismissal experience with physicians, raising concerns that adolescent females may receive, or at least perceive, differential treatment for their chronic pain.

Keywords: Adolescent; chronic illness; pain.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Hostility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult