Men and women behave differently in mental illness

Washington: A new study has discovered that differences between men and women can be found even among mental illnesses, with certain disorders being more common to specific genders.

The researchers at the University of Minnesota found that women are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression, whereas men are more likely to battle substance abuse and antisocial disorders.

They looked at the prevalence by gender of different types of common mental illnesses.

The researchers also found that women with anxiety disorders are more likely to internalize emotions, which typically results in withdrawal, loneliness and depression. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to externalize emotions, which leads to aggressive, impulsive, coercive and noncompliant behaviour.

The researchers demonstrated that it was differences in these liabilities to internalize and to externalize that accounted for gender differences in prevalence rates of many mental disorders.

Lead author Nicholas R. Eaton and his colleagues analyzed data collected in 2001 and 2002 by a National Institutes of Health survey of 43,093 U.S. residents. The analysis examined their lifetime mental health history as well as over the prior 12 months.

The findings supported gender-focused prevention and treatment efforts.

“In women, treatment might focus on coping and cognitive skills to help prevent rumination from developing into clinically significant depression or anxiety,” said Eaton.

“In men, treatment for impulsive behaviors might focus on rewarding planned actions and shaping aggressive tendencies into non-destructive behaviour,” he added.

The study has been published online in APA`s Journal of Abnormal Psychology.


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