Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 94, Issue 4, pp 306–309 | Cite as

Gender Differences in the Influence of Economic, Lifestyle, and Psychosocial Factors on Later-life Health

  • Steven G. PrusEmail author
  • Ellen Gee



Gender differences in exposure to social resources play a significant role in influencing gender inequalities in health. A related question — and our focus — asks whether these inequalities are also influenced by gendered vulnerabilities to social forces. Specifically, this paper examines the differential impact of social forces on the health of elderly (65+) men and women.


Multiple linear regression analysis is used to estimate gender differences in the influence of socioeconomic, lifestyle, and psychosocial factors on both self-rated health and overall functional health using data from the 1994–1995 National Population Health Survey.


Key findings include: 1) the relationship between income and health is significant for older women only, whereas the converse holds for education; 2) having an acceptable body weight is positively associated with health for elderly women only; and 3) stress-related factors are stronger determinants of health for older women.


Our findings shed light on the processes of healthy aging for men and women, and suggest that interventions to improve the health of elderly Canadians need to be gender-specific.



Les différences dans l’exposition des hommes et des femmes aux ressources sociales influencent beaucoup les inégalités entre les sexes en matière de santé. Une question liée — celle qui nous intéresse — est de savoir si ces inégalités sont aussi influencées par la vulnérabilité différente des hommes et des femmes aux forces sociales. Plus précisément, nous analysons ici les répercussions différentes des forces sociales sur la santé des hommes et des femmes âgés (65 ans et plus).


Par analyse de régression linéaire multiple et à l’aide des données de l’Enquête nationale sur la santé de la population (1994–1995), nous avons estimé les différences entre les sexes dans l’influence des facteurs socio-économiques, psychosociaux et du mode de vie sur l’état de santé auto-évalué et sur la santé fonctionnelle globale.


Nos principales constatations sont les suivantes: 1) la relation revenu-santé n’est significative que pour les femmes âgées, mais c’est l’inverse pour la relation instruction-santé; 2) un poids acceptable est positivement associé à la santé, mais chez les femmes âgées seulement; et 3) les facteurs liés au stress sont des déterminants de la santé qui jouent davantage chez les femmes âgées.


Ces constatations éclairent en partie les processus de vieillissement en santé chez les hommes et les femmes et portent à croire que les mesures d’amélioration de la santé des personnes âgées au Canada doivent tenir compte du sexe.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and AnthropologySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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