Do older females exhibit better health care practices than older males?
Yes. In general women throughout adulthood are more likely to attend to minor symptoms than are men. Men are more likely to have been socialized even as children to be stoical, and consequently are less likely to see a doctor for non-serious health problems. When they do get sick, they are likely to have more and longer hospital visits. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to have had regular contact with the health care system through childbirth, attending to their children's health, and having regular screening procedures for cervical and breast cancer. Although women report more chronic conditions than men in later life, the severity of their problems tends to be less than that of same age men, probably due to their earlier health care practices - hence the phrase "women get sicker, but men die quicker."
Linda Breytspraak, Center on Aging Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Monday, July 07, 2008