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psc brown bag iconWhy Do Women Live Longer than Men? An Integrative Social and Biodemographic Approach to Explaining Sex Differences in Longevity

Yang Yang (Department of Sociology, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

10/03/2011, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

That women live longer than men may be a well-known phenomenon. But why women live longer than men is much less well understood. I first briefly review the state of knowledge about sex differences in mortality and identify gaps in this knowledge. It is useful to revisit the old but powerful hypothesis that biology plays a role. The question is how. I lay out a framework of research that integrates biology into social demographic models and population research. I focus on an initial set of questions in this framework concerning the physiological mechanisms underlying sex differences in mortality and their interconnections with social processes and present findings from three studies, including sex differences in the age trajectories of physiological dysregulation, post-reproductive change in sex mortality gap, and social relations, physiological pathways, and mortality.


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