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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Gender biases in estimation of others' pain.

Zhang L, Losin EAR, Ashar YK, et al. J Pain. 2021;Epub Mar 9.

Unconscious assumptions and implicit biases can compromise both clinician decision making and patient outcomes. This article describes two experimental studies exploring the impact of gender biases on pain estimation and treatment recommendations. After controlling for self-reported pain, the first study found that female patients’ pain was under-estimated compared to male patients. The second study replicated these findings and also found that pain-related gender stereotypes (specifically about typical willingness to express pain between females vs males) predicted pain estimation biases and that female patients were judged to benefit more from psychotherapy, whereas male patients were judged to benefit more from pain medicine.