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Title: Poor Toddlers Feel Less Pain? Application of Class-Based Pain Stereotypes in Judgments of Children

Across four studies, we investigated whether perceptions of children’s pain are influenced by their socioeconomic status (SES). We found evidence that children with low SES were believed to feel less pain than children with high SES (Study 1), and this effect was not moderated by child’s age (Study 2). Next, we examined life hardship as a mediator of this effect among children, finding that children with low SES were rated as having lived a harder life and thus as feeling less pain (Study 3). Finally, we examined downstream consequences for hypothetical treatment recommendations. We found that participants perceived children with low SES as less sensitive to pain and therefore as requiring less pain treatment than children with high SES (Study 4). Thus, we consistently observe that stereotypes of low-SES individuals as insensitive to pain may manifest in judgments of children and their recommended pain care. Implications of this work for theory and medical practice are discussed.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Social Psychological and Personality Science
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 130-140
SAGE Publications
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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