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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2018 Jan;87:188-195. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.10.024. Epub 2017 Nov 2.

Communication of health in experimentally sick men and women: A pilot study.

Author information

1
Division of Psychology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Nobels väg 9, 171 77 Solna, Stockholm, Sweden; Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Frescati Hagväg 16A, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden; Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Immunobiology, University Hospital Essen, Hufelandstr. 55, 45122 Essen, Germany. Electronic address: julie.lasselin@uk-essen.de.
2
Division of Psychology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Nobels väg 9, 171 77 Solna, Stockholm, Sweden; Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Frescati Hagväg 16A, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.
3
Department of Clinical Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Danderyd Hospital, 182 88 Stockholm, Sweden.
4
Division of Psychology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Nobels väg 9, 171 77 Solna, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

The way people communicate their ill-health and the factors involved in ill-health communication remain poorly known. In the present study, we tested how men and women communicate their sickness and assessed whether sickness-related variables (i.e., body temperature, immune response, subjective sickness symptoms) predicted communicative behaviors. Twenty-two participants were filmed during experimentally induced sickness, triggered by lipopolysaccharide administration (2ng/kg body weight), and after placebo administration, in presence of female care providers. Two trained raters scored participants' communicative behaviors (verbal complaints, moaning and sighs/deep breaths). The physiological and subjective sickness responses were similar in both sexes. Participants were more likely to moan and complain when sick, although the frequency of these behaviors remained low and no clear sex differences was observed. Nevertheless, frequency of sighs/deep breaths was increased amongst sick men but not in women. Sickness-related variables did not predict sigh/deep breath frequency. In this setting, sick men appear to display a lower threshold of expressing their malaise as compared to similarly sick women.

KEYWORDS:

Health communication; Lipopolysaccharide; Sex; Sickness

PMID:
29102898
DOI:
10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.10.024
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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