This studyinvestigated how the tendencyto viewmen as the standard for health affects people'sexplanations for gender differences in illness.Participants (301 women, 132 men; 87% Whites, 4% AfricanAmericans, 4% Asians, 3% Hispanics, 1% American Indians,1% others) read a description of a gender difference inacute and chronic conditions that placed either women ormen at a health disadvantage. Attributions for the gender difference were then assessed.As expected, attributions differed depending on whichgender was placed at a health disadvantage. When thegender difference disadvantaged women, participants attributed it primarily to relativelyuncontrollable, constitutional factors (e.g., biology).In contrast, when the same gender differencedisadvantaged men, participants attributed it primarilyto relatively controllable, nonconstitutional factors (e.g.,behavior). Both female and male participants providedthese differential explanations for the same genderdifference in illness. Potentially importantimplications of these findings for the diagnosis andtreatment of health conditions, the formation of publichealth policy, and scientific research arediscussed.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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