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Papers of the Week

Papers: 7 Oct 2023 - 13 Oct 2023

2023 Oct 09



Changing society, changing research: integrating gender to better understand physical and psychological treatments use in chronic pain management.


Godbout-Parent M, Julien N, Nguena Nguefack HL, Pagé MG, Guénette L, Blais L, Beaudoin S, Bertrand C, Lacasse A


Treatment of chronic pain should be multimodal and include pharmacological, physical, and psychological treatments. However, because various barriers to physical and psychological treatments (PPTs) exist, a better understanding of biopsychosocial factors leading to their use is relevant. This study aimed to explore the association between gender identity, gender-stereotyped personality traits, and the use of PPTs in chronic pain management. The ChrOnic Pain trEatment cohort, a self-reported data infrastructure resulting from a web-based recruitment of 1935 people living with chronic pain (Quebec, Canada) was analyzed. Gender identity was operationalized as women, men, and nonbinary. Gender-stereotyped personality traits were measured using the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (feminine, masculine, androgynous, undifferentiated). A checklist of 31 types of PPTs that can be used for chronic pain management was presented to participants (yes/no). From the 1433 participants, 85.5% reported using at least one PPT. Hot-cold therapies (43.4%), exercise (41.9%), and meditation (35.2%) were the most frequently used PPTs, but most popular PPTs were not the same among women and men. Women reported a significantly higher use of PPTs in general (87.2% vs 77.2%; P < 0.001). Multivariable and interaction analyses showed that identifying as a man decreased the odds of reporting the use of PPTs (odds ratio: 0.32, 95% confidence interval: 0.11-0.92) but only among participants who scored high on both masculine and feminine personality traits (those classified as androgynous). The high prevalence of PPTs use found in our study is positive. Our results are relevant for a more personalized promotion of PPTs for chronic pain management.