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Am Psychol. 1990 Sep;45(9):1018-34.

Women's health. Review and research agenda as we approach the 21st century.

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Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-7447.


This article reviews past research and projects future research directions regarding women's health. Sex differences in mortality and morbidity, along with evidence that the quality and quantity of these differences are changing, are examined. Over the past decade, concurrent with dramatic changes in lifestyle and social roles for women, mortality rates have shifted, resulting in a decreasing advantage for women. Explaining the consequences of these dynamic changes requires understanding the health effects of such variables as perceived control, the experience of life roles, perceived and actual social support, and redefinition of gender roles. The future portends additional changes that will significantly affect women's health. In establishing an explicit psychological research agenda on women's health, (a) general recommendations for research are provided and (b) important issues that have not yet received a great deal of research attention (e.g., women and AIDS, psychopharmacology, reproductive technologies) are highlighted. This article expands the current discourse in health psychology and raises a number of issues for serious consideration.

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