Year of publication
The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences
Sex-gender differences in health are a function of social and biological factors and their interplay over the life course. A large body of research documents sex-gender as a determinant of health behavior and outcomes. Far less scholarship examines how these differences are reflected in physiologic function in young adulthood. Using nationally representative, longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, we examine the relationship between gender and biological function in young adulthood. We also examine the contribution of social and economic circumstances in childhood and early adulthood to gender differences in health. The findings reveal strong gender differences in inflammation and immune function, which are robust to the inclusion of many indicators of the social environment.