Exploring the relationship between male norm beliefs, pain-related beliefs and behaviours: An online questionnaire study

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Gender beliefs help explain the variation found in pain among men and women. Gender norms and expectations are thought to affect how men and women report and express pain. However, less is known about how such beliefs are related to pain outside of laboratory settings. The aim of this study was therefore to consider the relationship between beliefs in male role norms, pain and pain behaviours in men and women.

An online questionnaire study was conducted. A total of 468 adults (352 women), with or without pain, completed a series of self‐report measures relating to beliefs about pain and male role norms, as well as pain and general health behaviours.

An experience of pain was associated with lower beliefs in traditional male norms. Endorsing stereotypical male norms was related to increased stigma associated with seeking professional help for pain in both men and women, but to a lesser extent associated with general health behaviours. There also seemed to be gender‐based beliefs associated with the expression of pain.

Together these findings suggest that beliefs in gender (male) norms are relevant to pain, and that there is utility in exploring the variation in pain beyond binary male–female categories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-434
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain
Issue number2
Early online date29 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
KB was supported in part by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, which enabled this work to be conducted. KB is now at the University of British Columbia and BC Children's Hospital, Vancouver, Canada. This work has been presented at the following conferences: British Pain Society Annual Scientific Meeting, UK (2017) and European Health Psychology Society Conference, Ireland (2018).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 European Pain Federation - EFIC®

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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