Gender Disparities in Adult Health: An Examination of Three Measures of Morbidity

Journal Article (Academic article)

Recent examinations of gender differences in physical health suggest that women’s disadvantage may be smaller than previously assumed, varying by health status measure and age. Using data from the 1997–2001 National Health Interview Surveys, we examine gender-by-age differences in life-threatening medical conditions, functional limitations, and self-rated health and consider whether potential mediating mechanisms (e.g., socioeconomic status, behavioral factors) operate uniformly across health measures. The results show that the gender gap is smallest for life-threatening medical conditions and that men do increasingly worse with age. For self-rated health, men are more likely to report excellent health at younger ages, but with increasing age this gap closes. Only for functional limitations do we find a consistent pattern of female disadvantage:Women report more functional limitations than men, and the gap increases with age. The ability of explanatory mechanisms to account for these patterns varies by the health measure examined.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gorman, BK; Read, JNG

Published Date

  • July 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 47 /

Start / End Page

  • 95 - 110

PubMed ID

  • 16821505

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1465