Gender Disparities in Injury Mortality: Consistent, Persistent, and Larger Than You’d Think
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Objective. Given the recent increase in injury mortality, particularly among women, it is important to update knowledge about gender disparities in injury mortality. Methods. Data were drawn from the Web-based Injury Query System, which contains U.S. injury mortality data from 1981 through 2007. Male-to-female rate ratios in injury mortality were calculated for key variables, and age and ethnic group comparisons were made. Results. Boys and men are more likely than girls and women to die of injury. From 1981 to 2007, the male-to-female age-adjusted rate ratio decreased by 20% to 2.15 for unintentional injury and increased by 11% to 3.91 for violence-related injury. Excess male mortality exists in manner of death, cause of death, and within ethnic and age groups. In addition, with rare exception, the gender disparity is greater than ethnicity and age disparities in unintentional and violence-related injury mortality. Conclusions. Gender disparities in injury mortality are consistent and persistent. Gender patterns in injury mortality do not follow typical social justice analyses of health in that the structurally advantaged group, men, is at greater risk. Lifestyle and behavioral risks as well as masculine socialization are considered.