Cancer, Body, and Mastery at the Intersection of Gender and Race

TitleCancer, Body, and Mastery at the Intersection of Gender and Race
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsPudrovska, T
JournalSociety and Mental Health
ISSN Number2156-8693
KeywordsCancer, Gender Differences, Gender Identity, Mastery, Racial/ethnic differences

Using the 2006-2014 data from the Health and Retirement Study, the author compares changes in personal mastery after a new cancer diagnosis among white men, white women, black men, and black women. The author further examines the physical burden of cancer (incontinence, fatigue, pain, and decreased strength) as a mechanism mediating the effect of cancer on mastery in each group and finds that white men experience a substantially more pronounced decline in mastery after the onset of cancer than all women and black men, despite white men’s advantaged material resources and favorable cancer-related symptoms. This steepest decline in mastery among white men is entirely due to a disproportionately adverse effect of physical symptoms on mastery. The author argues that the physical burden of cancer might pose a profound threat to white men’s cultural privilege by undermining the masculine body—a critical and highly visible resource for “doing” masculinity.

Short TitleSociety and Mental Health
Citation Key9557