Research has found differences between women and men in some health indicators. Women’s life expectancy is higher than men’s, but research on differences in morbidity has proved less consistent than on the differences in mortality. These differences vary in terms of the type of health indicator used, the life cycle period analyzed, and even the country where research is conducted. Generally, men have more life-threatening chronic diseases at younger ages, including coronary heart disease, as well as more externalizing mental health problems and substance use disorders. Women present higher rates of chronic debilitating conditions such as arthritis, frequent or severe headaches, gallbladder conditions, and also more internalizing mental problems such as affective and anxiety disorders. Results of research on the differences between women and men in self-rated health have also highlighted the complexity of gender differences in health. Although several studies have shown that women have poorer self-rated health than men, this is not the case in all countries. Also, differences in self-rated health vary depending on other psychosocial and demographic variables. The present study reviews the main differences in women’s and men’s health as well as the most relevant factors that may account for them.
Part of the book: Gender Differences in Different Contexts