Patriarchy Detrimental To Men's Health

A new study by University of Michigan researcher Daniel Kruger and his colleagues Maryanne Fisher (St. Mary's University) and Paula Wright (Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom) investigates the relationship between a society's degree of patriarchy and mortality differences between men and women, using national level sociodemographic and mortality data from the WHO Mortality Database, United Nations, CIA World Factbook, and the Encyclopedia of World Cultures.

The study, published in the journal Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, found that patriarchy ("the degree to which highly powerful men control both women and other men, in addition to nonhuman resources") is associated with higher male mortality as indicated by the national ratio of the male mortality rate to the female mortality rate.  More specifically, "men living in the top 25 percent most patriarchal societies were 31 percent more likely to die than men in the least patriarchal quartile."  They were 20 percent more likely to die of internal causes, and more than twice as likely to die from behavioral causes.

The researchers explain that the degree of patriarchy "reflects both male control of females as reproductive assets, as well as the degree of male competition for positions of power that confer reproductive benefits."  This competition drives males to engage in higher levels of risky or violent competitive behavior, which ultimately results in higher mortality rates.

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Frederique Laubepin

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