The Early Demise of the 'Strong' Sex: Gender-related Causes of Sex Differences in Longevity

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It is well documented that males die at younger ages than females. Although the sex differential in longevity has some basis in biology, many gender-related socialization practices in place in American culture build on existing genetic predispositions to cause males to be more vulnerable than females to early death, especially violent death and death from heart disease. Demographic data are presented to document premature death rates for men relative to women, especially violent death from accidents, suicide, and homicide. A hierarchy of causes of death that is increasingly subject to human influence is presented along with a multidimensional model for understanding early death among males. Conclusions are offered for some reconsiderations of masculinity that would be helpful in reducing the sex differential in longevity.