Living and Dying in Different Worlds: Gender Differences in Violent Death and Grief

Document Type


Publication Date



This article examines gender differences in violent death rates by age and ethnicity. Data of U.S. accident, homicide, and suicide death rates show that males die from violent deaths more often than females at all ages, with African American males having the highest violent death rates of all ethnic groups. Factors that contribute to the higher violent death rate for males include an inherited tendency toward aggression, socialization practices that endorse violence, and an environment that models and supports violence for males. Gender differences in grieving a violent death are also examined, revealing that males and females often utilize different grieving styles. Males favor an instrumental approach and females rely on intuitive grieving styles, but the article suggests that this may not be the healthiest pattern of grieving for all people. It concludes with the hypothesis that a more instrumental approach to grieving might include finding ways to decrease violence in socialization practices and in the environment.