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Journal Article

Health Selection Theory: An Explanation for the Paradox between Perceived Male Well-Being and Mortality

Susan G. Brown, Susan Shirachi and Danielle Zandbergen
The Quarterly Review of Biology
Vol. 90, No. 1 (March 2015), pp. 3-21
DOI: 10.1086/679761
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/679761
Page Count: 19
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Health Selection Theory: An Explanation for the Paradox between Perceived Male Well-Being and Mortality
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Abstract

ABSTRACTParadoxically, men report better health and quality of life than women, but men experience higher mortality rates than women at most ages. One conclusion from these findings is that men have been selected to disregard signs of ill health, or even to deceive themselves about their health, to their detriment because presenting themselves as healthy has fitness benefits. We hypothesize that men have been sexually selected to present themselves to women as healthy but that the cost of not attending to their minor health problems results in earlier mortality than women. We present a review of the human and primate literature that supports health selection theory, the hypothesis that females have preferentially selected males who present themselves as healthy.

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