Sandra Nakagawa

Department of Sociology

How Gender Identity Shapes Preferences for Environmental and Health Behaviors (2016-2017)


Why are men less likely than women to engage in many common healthy and pro-environmental behaviors? My dissertation focuses on how preferences in these two domains are shaped by an individual’s gender identity (i.e., one’s sense of masculinity or femininity). Specifically, I argue that men often enact masculinity by actively avoiding environmental and health-promoting practices that are seen as feminine and care-oriented. In addition, this research shows how to increase men’s levels of health and environmental practices by reframing these to fit more closely with beliefs about masculinity.


Gender Identity Maintenance and Health Disparities between Men and Women (2012-2013)


How do men’s efforts to maintain their sense of masculinity affect their health and diet choices? I argue that our culture’s masculinity norms often lead men to choose unhealthy, meat-based diets and engage in risky behaviors such as excessive drinking. By experimentally manipulating men’s sense of their masculinity, I test for whether efforts to appear “”macho”” cause a shift in attitudes towards risky, masculine-typed health behaviors.