[From the introduction]
It has been estimated that about 50% of deaths in the United States could be prevented by a change in personal health practices (Courtenay, 1998). For instance, among 15- to 24-year olds, 80% of all deaths occur from fatal injuries. On average, males have higher death rates than females for ten of the leading causes of death, and females have a greater life expectancy than males by seven years (Courtenay, McCreary, & Merighi, 2002; Verbrugge, 1985). One theory on why women live longer is due to their health behaviors. Women tend to engage in more health-promoting and preventative behaviors than men, and men are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors than women (Courtenay, 1998; Courtenay et al., 2002). Some examples of risk-taking behaviors, which can be established during youth, include: tobacco use, dietary behaviors and lack of physical activity, sexual behaviors, engagement in violence, and alcohol and other drug use, as well as many others (Ghanbari-Panah, Shariff, Tajalli, & Ashtiani, 2011).
It has been reported that males in college are more likely than females in college to drive under the influence of alcohol, frequently binge drink, carry weapons, fight, and use drugs (Courtenay, 1998). The increased health risk behaviors seen in men and more health promoting behaviors seen by women could be a result of gender roles and socialization. People who talk about, seek help, and care for injuries and illness are associated with the feminine gender role and risk-taking (i.e., alcohol and substance use) is seen as a way to demonstrate the masculine gender role (Peralta, 2007; Verbrugge, 1985).
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