Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Andrea Willson


Research has continuously demonstrated differences in health between men and women and emphasized a “gender paradox” whereby women live longer than men, but have higher rates of morbidity. Still, relatively little attention has been given to the underlying mechanisms and processes involved within groups of women and men that may provide greater insight into the patterns of health experienced among each group rather than simply between them. Specifically, there has been an over-reliance on cross-sectional and retrospective data; inattention to multiple resources and health conditions; limited consideration of various age ranges and time spans; and an over-emphasis on comparing women and men rather than what contributes to their respective health outcomes separately. This dissertation examines contributing factors to heterogeneity in the health of women and men, incorporating principles from the life course perspective and intersectionality theory. Each integrated chapter uses data from the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Methods utilized include latent growth curve modelling, latent class analysis, discrete-time hazard models, and ordinary least squares and logistic regression. Findings contribute to the emerging body of literature that seeks to challenge traditional approaches to the conceptualization and measurement of gender and health through revealing the role of historical context, dynamic early life experiences, and intersecting dimensions of inequality across multiple health outcomes.