Sociological Explanations of Gender Differences in Mental and Physical Health

Published in: Handbook of Medical Sociology, 5th Ed. / Edited by Chloe E. Bird, Peter Conrad, and Allen M. Fremont. (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2000), Chapter 7, p. 98-113

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2000

by Patricia P. Rieker, Chloe E. Bird

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This book represents the status of medical sociology at the millennium. The chapters provide a broad understanding of what medical sociology is today and what challenges remain or are likely to emerge in the near future. In this chapter, the authors briefly review some of the major gender differences in physical and mental health. However, the main thrust of the chapter is on the unique sociological contributions to explicating gender differences in health. They discuss the strengths and limitations of the sociological models built on theories of inequality. In addition, they describe the evolution of particular sociological perspectives on gender and health, identify gaps in knowledge that occur as a result of the intellectual parochialism and we discuss new directions for research to improve our understanding of differences in men's and women's health.

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