, Volume 56, Issue 1-2, pp 55-62

Interpersonal Transactions and Responses to Cold Pressor Pain among Australian Women and Men

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This study was designed to assess how interpersonal transactions affect responses to painful stimulation among Australian women and men. Participants were 69 women and 49 men, randomly assigned to a No Transaction (NT) condition (coping alone) or one of three experimenter-initiated transactions (Distraction, Pain-Monitoring, Re-interpretation). Significant sex × transaction interactions for pain tolerance and reported pain revealed that pain responses of men did not differ as a function of transaction. However, women who coped alone had significantly less tolerance and more pain than men and women in other groups. In contrast, women engaged in re-interpretation transactions fared better on measures of pain perception than women engaged in distraction transactions, and they reported significantly less catastrophizing than did men in the re-interpretation condition. Together, findings replicate and extend recent evidence that suggests that women’s responses to noxious stimuli vary considerably as a result of interpersonal context.