GENDER DIFFERENCES IN HEALTH BEHAVIOR, MENTAL HEALTH, HEALTH CONSCIOUSNESS, AND HEALTH CARE UTILIZATION
Tsai Hsiu-mei(Institute of Adult and Continuing Education, National Chung-Cheng University)
The purpose of this study is to explore if there is gender differences in health attitude and behavior. With 453 adults sampled from Chiayi areas as units of analysis, results of the study include four categories : (1) Health maintenance behavior, the data show that males are more likely to smoke, consume alcohol, and bite beetle nuts, which are disadvantageous to their health; while males tend to exercise more often than females. Besides, females tend to have negative body-image.(2) Psychological distress, women are more likely to be depressed. (3) Health consciousness and preventive medicine, men report their health status better than women do, but there are no differences between men and women in frequency of taking preventive checkup. (4) Health care utilization, no differences are found in reported number of diseases, frequencies of physician visits and medicine purchase. These health attitudes and behaviors appear to be associated with sex-role shaped by society and culture. The gender differences in health attitudes and behaviors can be reduced by means of education and social policy, so that health status of both sex can be promoted.
health maintenance behavior, psychological distress; health consciousness; health care utilization; gender differences.