Women experience chronic pain longer, more intensely and more frequently than do men, according to research presented by Jennifer Kelly, PhD at the 118th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.
“Chronic pain affects a higher proportion of women than men around the world,” says Dr. Kelly. “We need to encourage women to take a more active role in their treatment and reduce the stigma and embarrassment of this problem.”
Dr. Kelly explains that chronic pain conditions that are more prevalent in women than in men include fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and migraines. Women are also more likely than men to experience multiple painful conditions simultaneously, which can lead to greater psychological distress and greater likelihood of disability, according to the report.
“Genetic and hormonal differences may be the main reason for any differences, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that social and psychological factors are also important,” notes Dr. Kelly.
“Women tend to focus on the emotional aspects of pain,” she adds. “Men tend to focus on the physical sensations they experience. Women who concentrate on the emotional aspects of their pain may actually experience more pain as a result, possibly because the emotions associated with pain are negative.”
APA – August, 2010.