The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has released a historical study that shows men are far more likely to engage in senseless high risk behaviors than women. They start out looking at the cause of past admissions to emergency rooms for the males. “Males are more likely to be admitted to an emergency department after accidental injuries, more likely to be admitted with a sporting injury, and more likely to be in a road traffic collision with a higher mortality rate.” These historical figures place male risk taking much higher than the females, so it’s exclusively a male trait.
The authors discuss the possibility that these behaviors might be determined by social or cultural differences. But, since they noted that high risk behaviors of males are reported at an early age, they conclude that this may be genetic in origin. They mention many studies to confirm this. However, they don’t discuss the differences within the males. I think that socioeconomic status might have some influence since poverty may be correlated with higher risk taking.
Their definition of idiotic risks are really senseless risks, “… where the apparent payoff is negligible or non-existent, and the outcome is often extremely negative and often final”. They also bring up something called “male idiot theory” based on “the observation that men are idiots and idiots do stupid things “. They also note that alcohol consumption tends to exasperate this tendency in men.
Going to war certainly seems like a high risk endeavor with dire consequences. This is especially appealing to young men. One of the main reasons for this is young men are establishing their masculine identity or manhood. If going to war or engaging in high risk activities seems like a primitive way to be a man, you would be correct. This is an identity of toughness or masculinity rather than one of intelligence and caring. So, this might distinguish which men are more likely to take on this risk.
In their discussion, the authors are at a loss to explain this difference between men and women. Besides forming a masculine identity, I personally think the person is at a loss in finding purpose and meaning in their life. What can women do about it if it affects you? The fact that it exists gets our attention if we see it in our partners behavior. Whether its risk taking in the stock market or jumping out of airplanes, men still have this tendency even in advanced age. I have personally seen this senseless risky behavior in men during the retirement years and that is precisely why I recommend that women become the manager of the relationship. L. Johnson.