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Health feeling: Men fall behind women
A study was published a few years ago that showed that women are significantly more ill than men. However, a new study has now come to the conclusion that the so-called strong gender is weakening. According to the researchers, men consider themselves sicker than women - especially in the east of the country.
German men feel sicker than women
A survey by the health insurance company DAK-Gesundheit showed a few years ago that the sick leave rate is higher for women than for men. Nevertheless, some experts point out that men get sick more often than women. At least they feel sicker, as has now been found in a new study by the social scientist Mine Kühn from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock.
Gender relations have reversed
As the institute reports, men in East and West felt significantly healthier than women immediately after reunification in 1990.
But within the next 25 years the perceived health differences between women and men were getting smaller everywhere.
The self-assessed health of men in 2013 was even lower than that of women. According to the information, the advantage of women in the east is more pronounced than in the west.
According to the study, gender relations have reversed since the end of the GDR.
The study results were recently published in the journal "Social Science and Medicine - Population Health".
Even perceived well-being says a lot about the attitude towards life
Mine Kühn says that health satisfaction is not just a good measure of actual health.
“At the same time, people's self-perceived wellbeing says a lot about their attitude towards life,” says the scientist.
For her study, the researcher used data from the representative survey "Socio-Economic Panel" (SOEP), for which around 20,000 people in Germany regularly answer how satisfied they are with their state of health on a scale from zero ("very unsatisfied") to 10 ( "Very satisfied").
Kühn analyzed data for people aged 20 to 59 who lived in their part of the country (east or west) during the entire study period from 1990 to 2013.
They differentiated according to the country and gender and calculated influences such as income and education.
The result: The trend shows that men from eastern Germany in particular indicated over time that they felt worse in terms of health.
Women are better able to deal with psychosocial stress
For the author of the study, what could be jokingly perceived as spreading the "male flu" has a serious background:
"It is quite possible that the political and social changes since the turnaround have caused so much stress, especially for men in the East, that their health - or at least their sense of health - has suffered sustainably."
For example, it is known that unemployment and ongoing economic uncertainty are increasingly leading to unhealthy behavior such as alcohol consumption or smoking.
The fact that men are more affected than women could also be due to the fact that women generally have better abilities to deal with psychosocial stress and, in particular, benefit more from their social network in difficult times.
East German men became a "problem group"
While the East German men now have the worst perceived health values, it was the East German women immediately after reunification.
MPIDR researcher Mine Kühn believes that they may have suffered from the fact that immediately after the turnaround, jobs that typically occupied women were lost.
But over the years the women seem to have recovered from such stresses and the East German men became a "problem group".
According to Kühn, this fits the lifestyle changes that were examined in other studies: "East German women are now achieving similarly good values in terms of sporting activity or alcohol consumption as West German women."
The men in eastern Germany, on the other hand, would not have caught up with those in the west in their healthy lifestyle. As before the reunification, they live as unhealthily as no other population group. (ad)