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Perceived Pain Tolerance and Self-Efficacy
in Men Versus Women




       Thirty-eight Texas State University-San Marcos students served as participants.  They consisted of nineteen males and nineteen females of various racial/ethnic backgrounds.  The ages of participants were not recorded, but college age is typically 18-24 years.  Each participant filled out an informed consent before participating.  Participants were all volunteers for the study, some from undergraduate classes receiving extra credit and some from undergraduate or graduate classes receiving no credit. 


       The room in which the research took place was one with three separate, smaller rooms in which there were two-way mirrors on the walls separating them from the main room.  These mirrors served the purpose of allowing the researchers to discreetly time the cold-water submergence task.  One room was used for the actual ice-water exercise while the other two were used for participants to individually fill out informed consent and questionnaires.  A forty-eight quart cooler was filled with ice and water for the exercise.  A thermometer was suctioned to the inside of the cooler to monitor that the water temperature was maintained at thirty degrees Fahrenheit.  A 22 x 28 inch poster board was taped to the wall of the ice-water exercise room to display instructions for the participants and a standard stopwatch was used to time each participant’s arm submergence in the ice-water.  A towel is also provided to participants to dry off arm.   


       The study is a quasi-experiment.  The outcome variables are the predictions made of times of ice-water tolerance and actual times of ice-water tolerance.  A subject variable is sex- male or female.  The control group consists of four males and four females whose average times set the times used for predictions and comparisons for the experimental group.  The experimental group consists of fifteen men and fifteen women who are studied to see self-efficacy/predictions in relation to performance.  Participants are assigned to either the control or experimental group based on when they arrive to participate in the study.  The first four of each sex are assigned to the control group and the remaining fifteen of each sex are assigned to the experimental group.


       The study took place over three days.  Participants came to the research site in which a researcher was placed outside of the main room to keep participants from entering prematurely.  Two participants were brought in at a time.  Each one was handed an informed consent and instructed by a researcher to go into one of the two separate, smaller rooms to fill out the form.  After enough time had passed to complete the form, a researcher than handed each participant a questionnaire, depending on which group the participant was in.  The participants were then instructed to wait in the room until a researcher came to get them.  The control group’s questionnaire asks them to specify which sex they are and asks them to respond “never, sometimes, or often” to the question, “How often have you used ice-water treatment for a physical injury?”  The answer to this question was not considered in the results.  It was there to help eliminate differences with the questionnaire that the experimental group would receive.  After the questionnaires were completed, a researcher goes and gets one participant from the room, takes the informed consent and questionnaire, and escorts them to the ice-water exercise room.  The researcher turns on the light in the room, which activates the two-way mirror to the main room, and tells the participant to follow the instructions posted on the wall.  The researcher then closes the door to the room.  The poster instructs the participants to 1. Take a seat facing this wall, 2. Raise right hand above your head and immediately place arm in water up to your elbow, 3. Hold arm under the water as long as tolerable, 4. Take arm out and raise above your head, 5. Dry arm off with towel provided and exit room.  A researcher watches unseen from the two-way mirror as the participant follows instructions.  The researcher begins timing as the participant submerges arm in water and stops when they take their arm out.  Another researcher records the time.  The participant then is handed a debriefing form and the researchers make sure the participant is feeling comfortable before he or she leaves the area.  The procedures are repeated with the remaining participant in the other smaller room.  The researcher outside of the main room makes sure participants who have already completed the study do not talk to those who are waiting to participate.  After four men and four women have completed the study, their times are averaged and included in the experimental questionnaire.  The experimental questionnaire asks the participants to specify which sex they are.  It then states, “The average time males/females were able to hold their arm under ice-cold water is 3:20min. (females) / 3:27min. (males).  How long do you think you will be able to do it?” It instructs them to specify “below average, average, or above average”.  All other procedures with the experimental group are identical to the control group.     




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