3-rx.comCustomer Support
HomeAbout UsFAQContactHelp
News Center
Health Centers
Medical Encyclopedia
Drugs & Medications
Diseases & Conditions
Medical Symptoms
Med. Tests & Exams
Surgery & Procedures
Injuries & Wounds
Diet & Nutrition
Special Topics

\"$alt_text\"');"); } else { echo"\"$alt_text\""; } ?>

Join our Mailing List


You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Psychiatry / Psychology -

Stigma worse for “gender-typical” mentally ill

Psychiatry / PsychologyMar 12, 09

How we feel towards a mentally ill person has a lot to do with how closely that person’s symptoms hew to gender stereotypes, new research shows.

People “don’t have much sympathy” for someone with more stereotypical problems, specifically a woman with major depression or an alcoholic man, Dr. Galen V. Bodenhausen of Northwestern University in Chicago explained in an interview. But when a person’s symptoms are out of line with these stereotypes—say, an alcoholic woman or a depressed man—we will view them more positively, and want to help them, he said.

Stereotypes of the mentally ill fall into two categories: “violence/dangerousness” or “dependency/incompetence,” Bodenhausen and Dr. James H. Wirth of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana note. Men are more likely to be seen as violent, while women are typically seen as dependent.

Bodenhausen and Worth hypothesized that people with gender-atypical symptoms might be seen more positively, in part because their mental illness would look more “genuine” and less like a defect of character.

To investigate, they presented 186 people with one of four different case scenarios: a depressed man, an alcoholic man, a depressed woman, or an alcoholic woman. Study participants, who completed the survey online, were then asked about how they reacted to that person emotionally, how likely they would be to help that person, and whether they thought that person had real mental health problems.

People had more negative views about the “gender typical” cases, the researchers found, and felt less inclined to help them, whereas the study participants were more likely to see the “gender atypical” case studies as representing real mental disturbances with biological roots.

The results offer insight into the stigmatization of mental illness, Bodenhausen noted, which is a serious problem because it leads to discrimination against mentally ill people and also discourages them from seeking help.

The researcher is now looking at the influence of gender on how mentally ill people feel about themselves, or “self-stigma,” which often takes place at the subconscious level. “People who feel like they’re blaming themselves and that their problem stems from their own inadequacies may be pessimistic about their prospects for changing the situation,” he said.

The current findings suggest that it’s worthwhile for people to take a look at their own feelings about mentally ill people, especially if we find ourselves feeling angry or critical toward a person whose symptoms “match” their gender, Bodenhausen added.

SOURCE: Psychological Science, February 2009.

Print Version
comments powered by Disqus

  Anxiety increases the risk of gastrointestinal infection and long-term complications
  How negative stereotyping affects older people
  Siblings of children with autism can show signs at 18 months
  Exploring the connection between empathy, neurohormones and aggression
  Maternal mood disorder and newborn neurobehavior
  Study pinpoints cell type and brain region affected by gene mutations in autism
  New evidence on the biological basis of highly impulsive and aggressive behaviors
  Child Abuse Ad Shows Hidden Message for Children
  90 percent of pediatric specialists not following clinical guidelines when treating preschoolers with ADHD
  The risk of autism is not increased by ‘too many vaccines too soon’
  Opioid prescription is on the increase
  Japan tsunami stress may have brought on seizures: study


Home | About Us | FAQ | Contact | Advertising Policy | Privacy Policy | Bookmark Site