Gender and Health:
Beyond Binary Categorical
Chloe Grace Hart1
, Aliya Saperstein1
, Devon Magliozzi1
and Laurel Westbrook2
This study leverages multiple measures of gender from a US national online survey (N = 1,508) to better
assess how gender is related to self-rated health. In contrast to research linking feminine behaviors with
good health and masculine behaviors with poor health, we find that masculinity is associated with better
self-rated health for cisgender men, whereas femininity is associated with better self-rated health for
cisgender women. The patterns are similar whether we consider self-identification or how people feel
others perceive their gender, though reflected appraisals are most strongly associated with health for
cisgender women. We also find that people who report they are seen as gender nonconforming report
worse health, but only when this perception does not match their gender identification. Our results
demonstrate that multiple measures of gender allow researchers to disentangle how health is not only
shaped by gender enactments but also shapes perceptions of gender and gender difference.
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