Gender Gap and Mental Health

WHY DOES IT OCCUR?

Gender bias occurs in the treatment of psychological disorders. Doctors are more likely to diagnose depression in women compared with men, even when they have similar scores on standardized measures of depression or present with identical symptoms. Female gender is a significant predictor of being prescribed mood altering psychotropic drugs.


Gender differences exist in patterns of help seeking for psychological disorder. Women are more likely to seek help from and disclose mental health problems to their primary health care physician while men are more likely to seek specialist mental health care and are the principal users of inpatient care. Men are more likely than women to disclose problems with alcohol use to their health care provider.

HOW DOES IT RELATE TO MENTAL HEALTH?

Gender stereotypes regarding proneness to emotional problems in women and alcohol problems in men, appear to reinforce social stigma and constrain help seeking along stereotypical lines. They are a barrier to the accurate identification and treatment of psychological disorder. Despite these differences, most women and men experiencing emotional distress and /or psychological disorder are neither identified or treated by their doctor.


Violence related mental health problems are also poorly identified. Women are reluctant to disclose a history of violent victimization unless physicians ask about it directly.

The complexity of violence related health outcomes increases when victimization is undetected and results in high and costly rates of utilization of the health and mental health care system.


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