Shorter lives, longer reasons: the longevity gap in men
Historically, men have underutilized healthcare. Where women engage in preventative care and tend to be responsive toward metrics (e.g., weight, blood glucose, cholesterol levels, resting heart rate and blood pressure), men tend to neglect preventative care and are more interested in knowing what they can do with their bodies than static measurements or benchmarks.
Underlying men’s lack of attention toward health is the age-old notion of masculinity. Not only are men socially programmed to project strength and hide weakness, but they also take greater risks than women in the areas of recreation and pleasure.
These socially conditioned challenges are compounded by how men cope with things such as anxiety and depression. Where women may feel more comfortable talking about how they feel and seeking support for mental health conditions, men are more apt to redirect toward alcohol, smoking, illicit drug use and even aggression.
In an interview with NPR, Richard G. Reeves, a Brookings Institution scholar, suggests that economic, social and cultural shifts are some of the reasons for a decline in male mental health. He goes on to tell of the diminishing need for men as primary family providers and points out the lesser-told side of the gender pay gap story — a decline in male wages in the middle and at the bottom — as a major contributor to male unwellness.