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Why are males injured more than females?
  1. J Richard Udry
  1. Carolina Population Center, CB 8120 University Square, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-3997, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Udry.

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Everybody who works in the field of injuries knows that after infancy, and before old age, males engage in more behavior that exposes them to the risk of injury, experience more injuries, and die more frequently from injuries. For example, in the US, among 15 to 19 year olds, males are 2.5 times as likely as females to die of any unintentional injury, and about five times as likely to die of homicide or suicide. The sex difference is most pronounced in drowning, where males are more that 10 times as likely to die as females of the same age. No category of injury, and hardly any risk behavior fails to show the higher male rate. The same is true for all countries that keep such statistics.

Why is this so? (Bear with me. I'm sure you already know the answer.) The usual answer of both specialist and layman is that the socialization process leads males, from the time they are little boys, to engage in more risky behavior than females, and to be supervised less by someone who might protect them from risk. This explanation is the only one available under our present gender theory. Derived from the social sciences, prevailing gender theory attributes all sex differences in behavior to differential socialization and differential normative constraints.

This theory provokes certain puzzling comparisons. Observations made on other primates, and even other mammals, show the same sex differences in injury and death-by-injury patterns. In fact primates show overall patterns of sex differences in behavior that are surprisingly parallel to those of humans. For example, juvenile rhesus monkeys show the same differences …

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