Saturday, May 07, 2011

Masculine Men and Masculine Women Die Sooner

Friedman and Martin use an ingenious measure of masculinity and femininity, which allows for some nuanced calculation of how these gendered styles relate to longevity.

To measure degrees of masculinity and femininity, they took the subjects’ preferences for specific occupations and preferred activities. Then they scored those occupations based on the actual ratio of men to women within them. Comparing preferences with actuality, the researchers could distinguish masculine men, masculine women, feminine men, and feminine women.

Which then led to this interesting finding:

The more masculine men and the more masculine women had an increased mortality risk, while the more feminine women and the more feminine men were relatively protected.

More masculine people do riskier things. More importantly, though, they make smaller and weaker social networks that might insulate them from life-shortening social risks.

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