HLTHAGE 3R03 Lecture 8: HLTH AGE 3R03 Lecture 8

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Social determinants of health: Gender, sexuality & sexual orientation
Why are there gender differences in health?
Macintrye et al., (1996:617) notes that while men typically have shorter life
expectancies than women, women experience more health problem during
their lifetime (especially in form of psychological health)
What do you think are the reasons for this difference?
Why are there gender differences in health? Explanations
1. Differential exposure hypothesis (Arber & Copper, 1999; Ross &Bird,
1996; Denton et al., 2004)
Females experience more limited access to “material and social
conditions of life” (Denton et al., 2004) compared to men
Role identities and statuses = greater stress
What are some examples?
Differential exposure hypothesis: An Example
In this video clip from The Human Rights Networking Zone (2010), we can
explore how women face differential exposure due to structural inequality in
society, as well as limited access to not only resources but personal agency,
protection and freedom
oThe Human Rights Networking Zone. (2010). “Liesl Gerntholtz…”
oin regions where HIV is prevalent it is common for women to be more
infected than men
oincidences of rape and unconsented sex is high in these areas as well
owomen do not have a say in when sex happens or if their partners use
condoms
owomen fear husbands/partners seeing treatments for HIV so hide it at
neighbours (some partners throw it out)
owomen then faced with problem of having to ask for more supply of
treatment saying that husband threw out treatment
othis is a problem as some women are afraid to ask for help, two –
women risk partners throwing out treatment again, three – there is a
wait list for treatments
oempowering women will reduce gender inequality and thereby
reduce HIV incidences
Why are there gender differences in health? Explanations
2. Differential vulnerability hypothesis (McDonough & Walters, 2001; Turner
& Avison, 1987; Denton et al., 2004)
oGreater health problems among females is a result of differential
reactions than men to “…material, behavioural and psychosocial
conditions that foster health…”
What are some examples?
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ocreation of derogatory terminology
Differential vulnerability hypothesis: An example
in this unicef clip we see the earlier onset of gender differences in health
oUNICEF (2007). “UNIVEF: Malnutrition and gender equality in India.”
otwins – boy and girl
ogirl was deprived of sufficient food due to preference for boy
ogirl was severely underweight
obirth of boys celebrated while birth of girls is at best tolerated or
worst dealt with harshly
o30% of children are born with low birth weight where 50% of these
children remain underweight until age of 3
What about men?
According to Cameron & Bernades (1998:115; Department of Heatlh, 1992),
a policy-relevant interest in men’s health did not occur until the end of the
20th century
Why did this happen?
Why is this problematic?
Gender & Health: Childbirth
in this example, we explore how childbirth can have an impact on maternal,
fetal and childhood health
oThird World Studies Centre (2011). “In the Philippines, Giving Birth
Kills: Maternal Mortality in the Philippines”
ogiving birth sometimes has complications causing maternal death
ohilots are like midwives and assist during birth to help prevent
maternal death
ohilots are preferred over professional midwives because they are
more culturally grounded and affordable
Gender & Health: Childbirth
What framework or pathway can we use to explain the previous example of
health inequality on childbirth, looking at both mother and child?
oMaterialist
oCultural/Behaviour
oPsychosocial
oLife course
oSocial Determinants
oDifferential exposure hypothesis
oDifferential vulnerability hypothesis
oA combination?
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Gender, health and impact of other factors on health
Smith et al., (2013:52) conducted a study in the USA with military personnel
and social supports available to them after experiencing PTSS
Two forms of support (ibid):
oMilitary
oNetwork of family and friends
Findings
oSocial support = “significant moderator” (ibid:64)
oAll forms of support = less cases of depression (ibid:65)
Military support = “buffer” (ibid:64)
oIncreased stress = increased importance of support (ibid)
oMen who received military support = less incidences of PTSS
Findings
oCivilian support
Important, but more so in situations of “lower stressor
exposure”
Women who received civilian support = less incidences of PTSS
but lack of civilian support for women = depression
What reasons do you think explain the gender differences in forms of
support?
Gender and mental health
Women receive the label of mentally ill to a greater degree than men
As women get older, this continues to occur
oWhy?
Gender bias in the medical system
Women live longer than men
Different coping mechanisms
Any other reasons?
The link between sexual orientation, identity, gender and health inequalities
Conron et al. (2010) found that self-identified sexual minorities tend to face
different health inequalities compared to heterosexual individuals
opoor health reported in the following areas:
Stress
decreased physical activity
health declining behaviour such as smoking and drug use
respiratory issues like asthma (ex. smoking)
“lifetime of sexual victimization”
increased levels of HIV testing
Conron et al. 92010) noted other findings, including:
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