The health of men: structured inequalities and opportunities

Am J Public Health. 2003 May;93(5):724-31. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.5.724.


I have summarized in this article data on the magnitude of health challenges faced by men in the United States. Across a broad range of indicators, men report poorer health than women. Although men in all socioeconomic groups are doing poorly in terms of health, some especially high-risk groups include men of low socioeconomic status (SES) of all racial/ethnic backgrounds, low-SES minority men, and middle-class Black men. Multiple factors contribute to the elevated health risks of men. These include economic marginality, adverse working conditions, and gendered coping responses to stress, each of which can lead to high levels of substance use, other health-damaging behaviors, and an aversion to health-protective behaviors. The forces that adversely affect men's health are interrelated, unfold over the life course, and are amenable to change.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology
  • Employment / psychology
  • Ethnicity / psychology
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Men* / education
  • Men* / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality
  • Parenting / ethnology
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Environment*
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vulnerable Populations / psychology
  • Vulnerable Populations / statistics & numerical data