Gender and ethnic differences in health beliefs and behaviors

Will H. Courtenay, Donald R. McCreary, Joseph R. Merighi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


This study explored the extent to which college men and women of various racial and ethnic groups differ in their health beliefs and behaviors. Exploratory factor analyses of survey responses from a diverse sample of 1816 undergraduate students identified 21 items in six cohesive domains: Diet; Anger and Stress; Preventive Care; Medical Compliance; Substance Use; and Beliefs about Masculinity. Analyses of variance explored group differences across these domains. Findings revealed consistent gender differences, with men engaging in riskier behaviors and holding riskier beliefs than women. Main effects for ethnicity were also observed, but only for the diet domain was a gender by ethnicity interaction found. Implications for establishing gender- and ethnicity-based health promotion and disease prevention interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-231
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Health beliefs
  • Race
  • Risk behavior


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