From heart attacks to melanoma: do common sense models of somatization influence symptom interpretation for female victims?
NLM Title Abbreviation
DOI of Published Version
Common sense models regarding gender and stress influenced how laypeople responded to information about symptoms in 3 experiments. In Study 1, medical intervention was perceived to be less important for female targets reporting chest pain and stressful events than for male targets experiencing identical symptoms and stressors. In addition, chest pain was less likely to be attributed to cardiac causes for female targets. This gender-based stress-discounting effect was replicated for symptoms of gallstones and melanoma in Study 2, where participants again were less likely to recommend medical care for female than for male targets. Recognition memory for information about a somatizing target was tested in Study 3; results suggested that laypeople hold stereotypes associating somatization with female gender. The authors' findings provide insight into the naive theories that shape symptom interpretation and self-referral behavior.
Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Crime Victims/psychology, Female, Humans, Male, Melanoma/epidemiology, Middle Aged, Myocardial Infarction/epidemiology, Referral and Consultation, Somatoform Disorders/epidemiology, Stress, Psychological/psychology
Published Article/Book Citation
Health psychology, 21:1 (2002) pp.25-32. DOI:10.1037/0278-6220.127.116.11.