New York:Most men on an average die five years earlier than women as they are less likely than women to go to a doctor, a team of US researchers has found.
The study also says, if they do go, they are more likely to choose a male doctor and are less likely to be honest with that doctor about their symptoms.
The researchers found that men who held traditional beliefs about masculinity - that men should be tough, brave, self-reliant and restrained in their expression of emotion -- were more likely to ignore medical problems, or at least put off dealing with them, than women or than men with less traditional beliefs.
"The question that we wanted to answer was, why do men die earlier than women?" said Diana Sanchez from Rutgers University in the US.
"Men can expect to die five years earlier than women and physiological differences don't explain that difference," Sanchez added in the paper published in the journal Preventive Medicine.
For their study, researchers asked about 250 men participants to fill an online questionnaire designed to elicit their opinions about manhood and relative attributes of men and women.
They also answered questions about the preference of doctor.
The higher they scored on the masculinity scale, the more likely participants were to prefer a male to a female doctor.
They were more likely to choose a male doctor, based on the belief that male doctors were more competent than female doctors.
"That's because they don't want to show weakness or dependence to another man, including a male doctor," Sanchez explained.
The researchers then recruited 250 male undergraduates at a large public university and had them fill out similar questionnaires.
Each subject was interviewed by male and female pre-medical and nursing students about their medical conditions.
Ironically, the researchers found that men tend to be more honest about their medical symptoms with female doctors, because to be honest about vulnerabilities causes them no loss of status with women.
(With IANS inputs)