Why Are Men More Accident-Prone Than Women?

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It's no secret that the male life expectancy is, on average, shorter than that of women. What is less well known is the fact that men are more accident-prone than women, with accidents and violence being major contributors to early deaths and disabilities among men. But why are men so much more prone to accidents? Is it their behavior, genes, occupation or hobbies? Or are they just more clumsy than women?

Young Men and Accidents

Young men, in particular, are over represented in death and accidents statistics, probably because they are most likely to participate in risky behaviors. Boys are twice as likely to die as girls in play-related accidents or by falling out of windows.

Higher Injury and Death Rates

As adults, men are three times as likely to die from injuries as women. Evidence from several countries shows that men are between two and five times as likely to be admitted to the hospital as a result of injuries. Other injury statistics include:

  • Men are significantly more likely to sustain bone fractures due to bicycling and sporting accidents than women.
  • Men are three to four times more likely to suffer spinal cord injuries leading to greater levels of disability than women.
  • Men suffer up 11 times as many work-related burns as women.
  • Men are several times more likely to be injured by machinery.

    What's Going On?

    It's not that men are necessarily any clumsier than women. But men are disproportionately represented in occupations and leisure activities that carry risk, though this is beginning to change over time. Despite assertions that men are biologically predisposed to behave carelessly and to risk death, it is far more likely that socialization from an early age is the more potent force.

    To date, much of the analysis of male behavior has assumed that males are "hardwired" to be reckless or foolish and that this is part of being male. There is evidence that testosterone levels influence aggression, but this does not explain behavior in young boys or the choices men make when it comes to occupations.

    Until recent years, little attention was focused on the powerful influence of social pressure and gender expectation when it comes to being male, and more research is needed to understand why men seem to b more accident- and injury-prone than women.

    How to Prevent Injuries

    You could avoid any activities that might lead to an accident or injury, but it's best to know how to protect yourself while doing the things you love. Check out these resources for preventing accidents and injuries:

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