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Gender, Pain, and Placebo Analgesia

This study has been completed.
The Research Council of Norway
University of Tromso
Information provided by:
University Hospital of North Norway Identifier:
First received: April 11, 2006
Last updated: February 4, 2008
Last verified: February 2008
The response to standard pain stimuli in males and females is investigated, together with the effect of informing participants about the effect of a painkiller. Physiological response to pain is recorded.

Condition Intervention
Experimental Pain Behavioral: Information (behavior)

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Effect of Participant Gender, Experimenter Gender, and Drug-Related Information on Placebo Analgesia

Further study details as provided by University Hospital of North Norway:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Pain report, heart rate variability, skin conductance

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Subjective arousal

Estimated Enrollment: 74
Study Start Date: September 2006
Study Completion Date: December 2007
Detailed Description:

The social context in which pain is reported has been found to modulate pain. Specifically, male participants reporting pain to female observers report significantly lower pain levels compared to male participants reporting to male observers. Female participants seem less affected by social context. This is a methodological problem in the study of pain and has consequences in the development of new drugs, and for pain research in general.

The present study has two aims: To investigate whether social context affects also the placebo response to pain, i.e. the reduced pain often observed after administration of a an inert substance the participants believes to be a painkiller. It is hypothesized that placebo analgesia will be larger in males reporting pain to females. Secondly, heart rate variability and skin conductance, measures of parasympathetic and sympathetic activity, will be recorded, to investigate if social context affects not only pain report, but also pain response.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 40 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • 18-40 years, healthy

Exclusion Criteria:

  • pregnant, earlier serious disease or injury,
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00314392

University Hospital of North Norway
Tromsø, Troms, Norway, N-9038
Sponsors and Collaborators
University Hospital of North Norway
The Research Council of Norway
University of Tromso
Principal Investigator: Magne Arve Flaten, PhD University of Tromso
  More Information Identifier: NCT00314392     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: Placebo
Study First Received: April 11, 2006
Last Updated: February 4, 2008

Keywords provided by University Hospital of North Norway:
Experimental pain
Placebo analgesia
Heart rate variability
Skin conductance processed this record on September 21, 2017