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JMIR Hum Factors. 2016 Jul 20;3(2):e19. doi: 10.2196/humanfactors.5693.

Do Gender-Specific and High-Resolution Three Dimensional Body Charts Facilitate the Communication of Pain for Women? A Quantitative and Qualitative Study.

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Faculty of Medicine, SMI®, Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University, Aalborg Øst, Denmark.



Chronic pain is more prevalent among women; however, the majority of standardized pain drawings are often collected using male-like androgynous body representations.


The purpose of this study was to assess whether gender-specific and high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) body charts facilitate the communication of pain for women.


Using mixed-methods and a cross-over design, female patients with chronic pain were asked to provide detailed drawings of their current pain on masculine and feminine two-dimensional (2D) body schemas (N=41, Part I) or on female 2D and 3D high-resolution body schemas (N=41, Part II) on a computer tablet. The consistency of the drawings between body charts were assessed by intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and Bland-Altman plots. Semistructured interviews and a preference questionnaire were then used to obtain qualitative and quantitative responses of the drawing experience.


The consistency between body charts were high (Part I: ICC=0.980, Part II: ICC=0.994). The preference ratio for the masculine to feminine body schemas were 6:35 and 18:23 for the 2D to 3D female body charts. Patients reported that the 3D body chart enabled a more accurate expression of their pain due to the detailed contours of the musculature and bone structure, however, patients also reported the 3D body chart was too human and believed that skin-like appearance limited 'deep pain' expressions.


Providing gender-specific body charts may facilitate the communication of pain and the level of detail (2D vs 3D body charts) should be used according to patients' needs.


android; app; chronic pain; digital communication; mHealth; pain measurement; three dimensional pain drawing

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