Although there’s no definitive answer to that question, some of the evidence points in that direction.
A retrospective study led by Adil H. Haider, MD, codirector of the Center for Surgical Trials and Outcomes Research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, found that women who had suffered traumatic injuries were 14 percent less likely to die after surgery than men with equivalent wounds. Women also experienced fewer complications after their operations. “We’re attributing this to differences in hormones,” says Haider. Other researchers are investigating whether administering estrogen and progesterone could improve the outcome for burn, brain-injury and cardiac arrest patients of both sexes.
Women are also psychologically strong, and this may be due partly to socialization, says William Helmreich, a sociology professor at City College of New York whose research has shown that women concentration camp survivors coped better than men after the Second World War. “Often it’s not what happens to you but how you deal with it that determines whether or not you’re going to make it through,” Helmreich says. “Assuming that the degree of trauma is roughly the same, I would say that women have more resilience than men because they are allowed to more freely express their emotions.”
Even in business, where 71 percent of senior executives in a global survey conducted by Accenture, the management consulting company, cited resilience as a key factor in deciding which employees to retain, managers saw women as slightly more resilient than men in recovering from work setbacks.