"Macho men" and preventive health care: implications for older men in different social classes

J Health Soc Behav. 2011 Jun;52(2):212-27. doi: 10.1177/0022146510393972. Epub 2011 Apr 13.


The gender paradox in mortality--where men die earlier than women despite having more socioeconomic resources--may be partly explained by men's lower levels of preventive health care. Stereotypical notions of masculinity reduce preventive health care; however, the relationship between masculinity, socioeconomic status (SES), and preventive health care is unknown. Using the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, the authors conduct a population-based assessment of masculinity beliefs and preventive health care, including whether these relationships vary by SES. The results show that men with strong masculinity beliefs are half as likely as men with more moderate masculinity beliefs to receive preventive care. Furthermore, in contrast to the well-established SES gradient in health, men with strong masculinity beliefs do not benefit from higher education and their probability of obtaining preventive health care decreases as their occupational status, wealth, and/or income increases. Masculinity may be a partial explanation for the paradox of men's lower life expectancy, despite their higher SES.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Masculinity*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Preventive Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class*
  • Statistics as Topic