Individual differences in pain
Pain is essential for survival, in that it signals harm and motivates protective behaviours. But pain can also become a persistent and highly disabling condition, and is viewed as a global health issue.
There are important individual differences in pain that need to be understood, explained and managed. One key difference often found is between men and women. Generally, women have a greater vulnerability to pain and painful conditions, and report more pain, more often, than men do. Whilst much research has focused on the biological mechanisms that might help explain this variation in men and women’s pain, this lecture considers the subjective nature of pain, and how we need a fundamental understanding of the psychosocial mechanisms involved.
In this lecture, Professor Ed Keogh will highlight his work spanning 20 years. He will show how his work into cognitive, emotional and behavioural factors, as well more recently, social context and interpersonal interactions, all have a role in explaining men and women’s pain.
He will argue that a psychosocial approach not only helps us better understand how pain varies, but also why it varies. A central theme will be that in order to fully understand the similarities and differences that occur around pain, a sex and gender approach is needed. I will highlight gaps in current knowledge, as well as consider implications, and future directions for research and practice.
There will be a drinks reception after the lecture in the 5 West foyer.
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Ed Keogh is a Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath. He is also the Deputy Director of the Bath Centre for Pain Research.
In 1997 he gained his PhD in Psychology from Goldsmiths College, University of London. His thesis explored the way in which anxiety can bias how we attend to threatening information. He was subsequently appointed to the post of Lecturer at Goldsmiths College, where he developed his interests in pain psychology.
In 2003 Ed moved to the University of Bath as a Senior Lecturer. He was promoted to Reader in 2011, and to Professor in 2017.
He has written extensively on psychological factors in pain, has over 100 publications, many of which consider sex and gender issues.