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"Brave Men" and "Emotional Women": A Theory-Guided Literature Review on Gender Bias in Health Care and Gendered Norms towards Patients with Chronic Pain

Review article
Authors Anke Samulowitz
Ida Gremyr
Erik Eriksson
Gunnel Hensing
Published in Pain Research & Management
Volume 2018
Pages 1-14
ISSN 1203-6765
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Public Health Epidemiology Unit
Pages 1-14
Language en
Subject categories Community medicine

Abstract

Background. Despite the large body of research on sex differences in pain, there is a lack of knowledge about the influence of gender in the patient-provider encounter. The purpose of this study was to review literature on gendered norms about men and women with pain and gender bias in the treatment of pain. The second aim was to analyze the results guided by the theoretical concepts of hegemonic masculinity and andronormativity. Methods. A literature search of databases was conducted. A total of 77 articles met the inclusion criteria. The included articles were analyzed qualitatively, with an integrative approach. Results. The included studies demonstrated a variety of gendered norms about men's and women's experience and expression of pain, their identity, lifestyle, and coping style. Gender bias in pain treatment was identified, as part of the patient-provider encounter and the professional's treatment decisions. It was discussed how gendered norms are consolidated by hegemonic masculinity and andronormativity. Conclusions. Awareness about gendered norms is important, both in research and clinical practice, in order to counteract gender bias in health care and to support health-care professionals in providing more equitable care that is more capable to meet the need of all patients, men and women.

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