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Gend Med. 2011 Jun;8(3):172-83. doi: 10.1016/j.genm.2011.04.001. Epub 2011 May 23.

Interactions among sex, ethnicity, religion, and gender role expectations of pain.

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Department of Physical Therapy, School of Allied Health Professions, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel.



Sex, gender, ethnicity, and religion are powerful factors that may affect pain experience. Recently, gender role expectations of pain (GREP) were suggested to account for some of the differences in pain perception between men and women. However, the interaction between GREP and ethnicity and religion was not examined. This interaction was studied with regard to pain sensitivity, pain endurance, and willingness to report pain.


Our objective was to study the interaction among GREP, sex, and ethno-religious belonging.


Participants (548 healthy men and women) of 3 different ethno-religious groups (341 Jews, 105 Muslim-Arabs, 102 Christian-Arabs) completed the GREP questionnaire; pain sensitivity, pain endurance, and willingness to report pain were analyzed.


Men of all 3 ethno-religious groups perceived themselves and other men as less sensitive and less willing to report pain than typical women. Women of all 3 ethno-religious groups perceived themselves and other women as more sensitive and more willing to report pain than men. Ethno-religious differences were observed in the attitudes towards typical men and women, with Christian men and women exhibiting stronger stereotypical views regarding pain sensitivity and pain endurance.


Individual's perceptions of pain regarding one's self compared with the same or opposite sex were similar regardless of ethno-religious belonging and were related to sex. However, attitudes on pain of typical men and women seemed to be influenced by ethno-religious belonging. This differential effect of ethno-religion on GREP with relation to sex suggests that these factors should be considered when pain perception is evaluated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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