Understanding the Meaning of Conformity to Feminine Norms in Lifestyle Habits and Health: A Cluster Analysis

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Background: Gender roles impact different spheres of life and lead women to behavioral patterns and lifestyle habits associated with femininity, generating important differences between men and women in health. The present study analyzed relationships between conformity to the feminine norms and different lifestyle indicators: Educational level, marital status, alcohol consumption, tobacco consumption, sleeping hours, social support, and physical activity. Additionally, cluster analysis was developed in order to identify different patterns of gender role conformity. Methods: The sample was made up of 347 women age 18–70 from Spain. Data collection was conducted during 2014. Results: Multiple logistic regression analyses produced odds ratios showing that women with lower feminine role conformity were more likely to use tobacco and alcohol, but less likely to share their lives with someone. Cluster analysis found four different profiles of gender role conformity related to different patterns of alcohol consumption and marital status. Conclusions: Conformity to feminine norms was associated with basic affective conditions such as sharing life with others and with alcohol and tobacco consumption, but not with physical activity, social support, and sleep duration. Whereas tobacco and alcohol use have important health implications, public health systems should pay attention to gender-related variables in order to design and implement specific prevention programs.