chapter  8
12 Pages

Gender and Ethnic Differences in Health Beliefs and Behaviors

ByWill H. Courtenay, Donald R. McCreary, Joseph R. Merighi

Gender differences in mortality found among the general population persist among various racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Among African Americans, for example, men die 7 years younger than women (Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS], 2009a). In every ethnic group, the age-adjusted death rate has been found to be at least 50% higher for men than for women: 80% higher for Hispanics, 70% higher for African Americans and Asian Americans, 60% higher for European Americans, and 50% higher for Native Americans (Collins, Hall, & Neuhaus, 1999). Health disparities also exist among men of various racial and ethnic backgrounds. Indeed, the difference between the life spans of African American men and European American men is greater than the difference between the life spans of women and men in general; African American men die 6 years younger than European American men (DHHS, 2009a). There are important distinctions in the leading causes of death between men of various racial and ethnic groups. The death rate for HIV is highest for African Americans and

Latinos; it is among the fi ve leading causes of death for African American and Latino men (DHHS, 2009a), but it is not among the top 10 leading causes for any other ethnic group of men (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2006b). African American men are nearly 8 times more likely than European American men to die from homicide or HIV disease (DHHS, 2009a).