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Sociology - mental illness - Essay Example

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It has now been realised and acknowledged that mental illness affects both genders in the same degree; however, it is commonly judged that women and men are influenced by diverse problems and experience them in different ways. Worthy of note is the epidemiological finding that women are relatively more vulnerable to depression, being affected by it two times the rate of men (Kornstein & Wojcik, 2002; WHO, 2004)…
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Download file to see previous pages Nonetheless, there are no observed variance in the rates of severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar depression.
Numerous theories have been put forward for the gender differences in the incidence of mental health problems and women's susceptibility to depression. These can be grouped in three broad categories -- biological theories, psychological theories, and social theories (Stoppard, 2000). Theories categorized as biological highlight the "medical model" of mental illness, and in relation to women, customarily point to the notion of hereditability and the role played by their physiology in the origins and manifestations of mental illness. Interestingly though, the extensive cross-cultural differences identified in rates of depression call into question elucidations based on a simple medical model.
When probing gender differences in connection with psychological development, the vital role performed by gender-specific socialization and coping patterns has been underscored (Nolen-Hoeksema, 1995; Busfield, 2002). Therefore, the diverse mental health problems experienced by men and women are now considered to signify a gendered expression of mutual basic emotional obstacles and inconveniences. These psychological developmental theories are substantiated by concrete proofs from longitudinal studies which display and reveal the variance in boys' and girls' mental health which begins to emerge at the inception of puberty, when adult social roles are to a great extent, assumed and embraced (Kornstein and Wojcik, 2002).
In addition, the 1998 WHO Report declared that women's health is inextricably associated with their status in society. It gains from equality and puts up with (WHO, 1998). For instance, in Ireland, female gender is still an indicator of lower status, diminished participation in decision-making and lower pay. Likewise, women are deprived and prejudiced by the many roles they had to perform in society - carers, partners and workers and all through their lives, women are more likely to be gravely affected by physical and sexual abuse (WHO, 2001), which can trigger and pave the way for severe physical and mental health ramifications.
Further, studies have concluded that the psychological and emotional damage brought about by social factors is further aggravated in cases of social disadvantage. A constant reverse relationship has been identified between social class and mental health (Prior, 1999; WHO, 2003; Women's Health Council, 2003), and women have been steadily found to be at greater risk of falling into poverty than men (Combat Poverty Agency, 2002).
For this reason, greater contextualisation of mental health difficulties within social realities is necessary. This is particularly true when studying and analysing women's most common mental health problems, which are essentially controlled and affected by gendered perspectives of women's suitable conduct and role in society and by the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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