So we all know that there’s a difference between “sex,” taken as a biological characteristic, and “gender,” as a social one. Maybe the heuristic is overdrawn (put down the updated theory; that’s not where this is going), but it works pretty well as a heuristic. It also has just led to a (maybe not so surprising) study result (paywalled; for a quick video summary, see here, though you may get served an ad): among young people with premature Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS; it’s an umbrella term for anything involving a sudden reduction or block of blood flow to the heart, such as a heart attack), being gendered female – of self-identifying with traits that are traditionally associated with women – increases the risk of recurrence over the next 12 months. Being a woman (i.e., biological sex) does not affect future risk. As the authors say:
“Gender-related characteristics like personality traits and social roles (psychosocial sex) may be as important as biological sex in predicting adverse cardiovascular outcomes in young patients with acute coronary syndromes. Both women and men with personality traits and social roles traditionally attributed to women are at increased risk of subsequent adverse events.”
I make no assessment of how robust this result is (I noticed that the cohort was fairly small). I will note that the study did not take race into account, although everything we know about intersectionality says that young women of color are likely to have even worse outcomes.