Gendered embodiment and survival for young people with cystic fibrosis

Soc Sci Med. 2001 Nov;53(9):1163-74. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(00)00416-0.


In the context of improvements in both longevity and the quality of life for people with chronic disease, this paper takes as its sense of problem the differential life expectancy for young men as against young women suffering from cystic fibrosis. From a qualitative study of the transition to adulthood for young people with the disease, a theory of gendered embodiment is proposed to explain this differential. The social construction of masculinity and femininity as social practices resulted in the former being more conducive to survival than the latter in this case. There were marked differences between the young women and young men in attitudes to: the meaning of life, death, career and body image; all of which affected adherence to medical regimen.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Death
  • Body Image
  • Career Choice
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications
  • Cystic Fibrosis / mortality*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance
  • Prognosis
  • Sex Distribution
  • Social Identification*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Value of Life
  • Victoria / epidemiology