Tuesday, September 20th
Plenary Lecture | Virtual Program
Plenary Room Level 800
Sex, Gender and Pain: Past, Present and Future
There are differences between men and women in the perception and experience of pain. Women generally experience more pain across the lifespan when compared to men. However, there is variation in this pattern within as well as between men and women, which needs to be accounted for. The purpose of this talk is to provide an overview of the evidence for the role that sex and gender have in pain, to identify gaps in understanding, as well as the factors that contribute, and help explain, this variation. It will be argued that whilst comparisons between men and women are an essential starting point, the time is right to move beyond description and identify the key biopsychosocial mechanisms involved. This will be illustrated through a focus on psychosocial factors, and in particular, gender concepts including beliefs and expectations about men and women’s pain, as well as wider interpersonal gender context in which pain occurs. Enhancing our conceptual thinking about the roles of sex and gender in pain not only helps direct future investigation, but has the potential to inform the development of more targeted approaches that seek to help men and women live better with pain.