Socio-economic Position, Gender and Health: How Do They Interact?

J Health Psychol. 1997 Jul;2(3):315-34. doi: 10.1177/135910539700200304.


There is a large research literature on socio-economic inequalities in health (and explanations for these inequalities); there is also a large literature on gender differences in health (and explanations for these differences). However, the two bodies of research are rarely integrated to ask, for example, whether socio-economic inequalities vary by gender, or whether gender differences vary by socio-economic position. The separation of these two research traditions may be to the detriment of theoretical development in both of them; and in particular, asymmetrical treatment of men and women in research in inequalities in health may hinder our ability to explain the mechanisms producing inequalities. This article reviews the intersection of socio-economic position and gender, and argues for more systematic and symmetrical examination of the interaction between socio-economic position and gender in the social patterning of health.