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Perceived Pain Tolerance and Self-Efficacy
in Men Versus Women



       Using an independent samples t-test, we tested for differences between males and females in how long they could hold their arm in the ice water.  With males having an average time of 306.59 seconds and females having an average time of 184.53 seconds, we found no significant differences (t(30)=1.610, n.s.).  When looking at the expectations chosen by males, two chose “below average”, six chose “average”, and nine chose “above average”.  When looking at the expectations chosen by females, five chose “below average”, five chose “average”, and five chose “above average”.  An examination of expectation selections using chi-square crosstabulation showed no significant differences between the expectation choices of males in comparison to those of females (x²(2)=2.404, n.s.). 
We looked at the relationship between sex and expectation of pain tolerance time using a general linear model, with seconds being the dependent variable.  We found a difference approaching significance in means of expectations between the sexes (F(2)=2.632,p=.091).  Using a chi-square to test frequencies, there showed no significant differences between males and females in frequency of expectation choice.


       For this study, our hypotheses were that men would show higher pain tolerance, set higher expectations for themselves, and be more likely to meet or exceed the expectations they set than women. Although our hypotheses were not supported by our results, in our opinion, it is possible that they could be supported if some changes are made to the methods.  Given the lack of time available to us to collect data, the study has too few participants.  A major contributing factor as to why the average pain-tolerance times are not significantly different between the sexes, as they have been in past research, is that the low number of participants created high standard deviations.  A greater number of participants can reveal significant differences, as they may have in this study, for instance with the approaching significant value concerning means of expectations between sexes.  Another possible problem this study faced was a lack of diversity in participants because they were all college students.  Also, several of the participants received extra credit in their classes for taking part in our experiment, which led a few to not give full effort.  This could have affected our results due to participants not keeping their arm in the water as long as they could or not answering the questionnaires to the best of their ability.  An area of this study that can be elaborated on in future research is the age and race/ethnicity of participants.  Because this study does not take into account these variables, it can be another aspect to consider for potential studies regarding this subject.  A more diverse group of participants can also lead to greater generalizability of the results.   Also, future research could possibly expand on our study to look into ways to improve self-efficacy or performance. Even though our study does not give any significant findings or conclusions, it is still important because it shows other researchers ways in which to conduct this type of research and allows them to learn from our mistakes, like not having a large enough sample of participants.  With the adjustment of the number of participants, hopefully future studies similar to this one will produce significant findings.

       In summary, we are aware that our study needs some adjustments, especially more participants, to possibly create results to truly answer the questions our hypotheses ask.  However, we feel that our study is still valuable in the world of psychological research because it looks at a major societal issue.  What the actual differences are between men and women is constantly in debate.  This type of research can give some insight to the physical and psychological variations or similarities amid the sexes.  If it is found that one sex tends to have lower levels of self-efficacy, for example, it may lead society to ask the question as to why this is and create awareness to change it.  This study can also be the basis of other more in depth research that looks at ways to improve pain tolerance and advance performance ability.  These are all crucial aspects of life that affects virtually every individual at one point or another. Thus, the topics this study addresses are ones that are universally significant and should continue to be closely examined in order to benefit mankind.



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