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Gender differences in mental health: evidence from three organisations


  • Emslie, Carol
  • Fuhrer, Rebecca
  • Hunt, Kate
  • Macintyre, Sally
  • Shipley, Martin
  • Stansfeld, Stephen


It is commonly observed that women report higher levels of minor psychiatric morbidity than men. However, most research fails to control for the gendered distribution of social roles (e.g. paid work and domestic work) and so does not compare men and women in similar positions. In this short report, we examine the distribution of minor psychiatric morbidity (measured by the 12 item General Health Questionnaire) amongst men and women working in similar jobs within three white-collar organisations in Britain, after controlling for domestic and socioeconomic circumstances. Data from self-completion questionnaires were collected in a Bank (n=2176), a University (n=1641) and the Civil Service (n=6171). In all three organisations women had higher levels of minor psychiatric morbidity than men, but the differences were not great; in only the Civil Service sample did this reach statistical significance. We conclude that generalisations about gender differences in minor psychiatric morbidity can be unhelpful, as these differences may vary depending on the context of the study.

Suggested Citation

  • Emslie, Carol & Fuhrer, Rebecca & Hunt, Kate & Macintyre, Sally & Shipley, Martin & Stansfeld, Stephen, 2002. "Gender differences in mental health: evidence from three organisations," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 621-624, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:54:y:2002:i:4:p:621-624

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    2. Ettner, Susan L., 1996. "New evidence on the relationship between income and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 67-85, February.
    3. Godfrey, Leslie G & McAleer, Michael & McKenzie, Colin R, 1988. "Variable Addition and LaGrange Multiplier Tests for Linear and Logarithmic Regression Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(3), pages 492-503, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Madden, 2010. "Gender Differences in Mental Well-Being: a Decomposition Analysis," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 99(1), pages 101-114, October.
    2. repec:ilo:ilowps:365072 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Caroli, Eve & Weber-Baghdiguian, Lexane, 2016. "Self-reported health and gender: The role of social norms," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 220-229.
    4. Rojas, Graciela & Araya, Ricardo & Lewis, Glyn, 2005. "Comparing sex inequalities in common affective disorders across countries: Great Britain and Chile," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 1693-1703, April.
    5. Foley, Ronan & Platzer, Hazel, 2007. "Place and provision: Mapping mental health advocacy services in London," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 617-632, February.
    6. Levecque, Katia & Anseel, Frederik & De Beuckelaer, Alain & Van der Heyden, Johan & Gisle, Lydia, 2017. "Work organization and mental health problems in PhD students," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 868-879.
    7. Lahelma, Eero & Laaksonen, Mikko & Martikainen, Pekka & Rahkonen, Ossi & Sarlio-Lähteenkorva, Sirpa, 2006. "Multiple measures of socioeconomic circumstances and common mental disorders," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(5), pages 1383-1399, September.
    8. Hoel, Helge. & Einarse, St°ale., 2003. "Violence and stress at work in financial services," ILO Working Papers 993650723402676, International Labour Organization.
    9. David Madden, 2009. "Mental stress in Ireland, 1994-2000: a stochastic dominance approach," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(10), pages 1202-1217.
    10. David (David Patrick) Madden, 2007. "An analysis of mental stress in Ireland, 1994-2000," Working Papers 200710, School of Economics, University College Dublin.


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