Across a range of activities, gender often appears to be a significant predictor of attitudes and social behaviour. Male traits of risk-taking, competitiveness, reluctance to reveal feelings and abdication of primary care tasks to women show up in patterns of loss and reactions to bereavement. According to Field et al. (1997) men are more likely to die from cardiovascular illness, suicide, murder, accident and warfare. In 1999 in the UK, one in five males aged 16–24 was a victim of violence compared with one in ten females of the equivalent age. Men are three times more likely to die through taking their own lives than women. Men die younger than women. In 1997, nearly two out of every three people aged 75 and over in the UK were women. A quarter of all families are headed by a single parent, practically all of whom are women (Gibson, 2001). Women appear to be at greater risk from domestic violence, though, typically, figures reflecting the ‘true’ picture of the victimization of men by female partners are notoriously difficult to obtain. With all victimization, as with mental health problems, men are less likely than women to admit a problem, to seek help or to visit a doctor. Women’s lives are more open to surveillance by the medical profession. They are two and a half times more likely to be treated for depression than men (Gibson, 2001).
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