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close this bookFact sheet No 248: Women and Mental Health - June 2000 (WHO, 2000, 3 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentBackground
View the documentSignificant mental disorders and problems experienced by women
View the documentMental disorders
View the documentGender differences in mental disorders
View the documentPromoting women’s mental health
View the documentFurther Reading

Gender differences in mental disorders

Explanations for the gender differences in mental disorders have been discussed in relation to different help-seeking behaviours of the sexes, biological differences, social causes and the different ways in which women and men acknowledge and deal with distress (Paykel, 1991). Blue et al, (1995) argue that while all these factors may contribute to higher rates of depression or psychological problems among women, social causes seem to be the most significant explanation. Women living in poor social and environmental circumstances with associated low education, low income and difficult family and marital relationships, are much more likely than other women to suffer from mental disorders. They conclude that the combined impact of gender and low socio-economic status are critical determinants of mental ill-health (Blue et al, 1995).