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Portrait Lisa Eklund. Photo: Emma Lord.

Lisa Eklund

Associate Professor | Senior Lecturer

Portrait Lisa Eklund. Photo: Emma Lord.

Reacting to social discrimination? : Men's individual and social risk behaviors in the context of a male marriage squeeze in rural China


  • Xueyan Yang
  • Sasa Wang
  • Lisa Eklund

Summary, in English

In China, a large number of men are being squeezed out of the marriage market due to a shortage of marriageable women. Previous research has largely discussed the consequences of gender imbalances and focused on the behavior of marriage-squeezed men that threatens public safety. No empirical studies explored the impact of the social environment on risky behaviors of marriage-squeezed men.

The main objective of this paper is to examine whether social discrimination is associated with marriage-squeezed men's engagement in the behaviors that threaten their own wellbeing and community safety.

Using individual-level data collected in Chaohu City, Anhui, this study employed binary logistic regression and linear regression to examine the impacts of discrimination on alcohol use disorder and suicidal ideation, respectively. Ordinary least squares regression was performed to predict the effects of discrimination on gambling and verbal conflict based on village-level data collected in 380 villages across 18 provinces in China.

The results showed that self-reported discrimination was positively associated with incidence of alcohol use disorder and suicidal ideation among marriage-squeezed men; villagers' discrimination was also positively associated with the number of marriage-squeezed men in the village who often gambled or were in conflict with others.

Evidence suggests that social discrimination is one important mechanism that triggers marriage-squeezed men to engage in risky behaviors that threaten self- and community safety. Commonly held stereotypes about rural bachelors is one of the reasons that causes marriage-squeezed men to pose a threat to public safety. It is necessary to develop and implement policies aimed at creating a friendly and tolerant social environment for marriage-squeezed men.


  • Sociology
  • Centre for Economic Demography

Publishing year





Social Science and Medicine



Document type

Journal article




  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • Gender imbalance
  • marriage squeeze
  • Social discrimination
  • Risk behavior
  • Safety
  • China




  • ISSN: 0277-9536