View all articles in this issue
The Effects of Gender and Aging on Pain Perception
Download this article for $1.00 (FREE for Members)
by Caitlin McEntarfer, Jean DiPirro, and David Page - Nazareth College of Rochester (McEntarfer, Page); Buffalo State College, SUNY (DiPirro)
Categories: Developmental | Gender | Physiological
The purpose of this study was to examine how the perception of pain, induced in the cold pressor test, is related to age and gender. Volunteers (40 men and 40 women), aged 18-23 and 65-81 years, immersed their dominant hand in a bucket of water kept at 2º C. Pain threshold was determined as the time taken to notice pain from the stimulus. Pain tolerance was determined as the time before the participant removed his or her hand from the water, presumably because the pain became too intense. Analyses revealed that pain thresholds remain constant across age and gender, but that women have lower pain tolerance than men. Also, pain tolerance is lower for older adults than for younger adults.