The Relationship Between Gender Role Stressors and the Development of Mental Disorders

Gender affects various aspects of life including methods of coping with stress, social interaction, self-evaluation, spirituality, access to resources, and expectations of others. These factors influences mental health of both men and women in a negative or positive way. The current paper seek to develop understanding between the relationship between gender and mental health so as to lessen risk factors predisposing men and women to develop mental disorders, as well as to improve treatment methods. Research Questions

The study aims to answer the research question of whether there is a relationship between gender specific stressors and the development of mental disorders. Research Hypothesis The research hypothesis is that there is a relationship between gender specific stressors and the development of mental disorders. Relevance to social work The current study can be utilized as a guide on planning therapies to individuals, both men and women. The focus of therapy differs based on issues of role stressors of patients and their gender.

Thus, the social workers can recognize causative factors that led to the development of mental disorders and plan interventions that best fit the client along with his or her past experiences. Furthermore, social workers can reduce the incidence of anxiety among toddlers and young children by first identifying high-risk conditions that produce greater than average number of children having unmet needs not given by their caregivers. Social workers can intervene to reduce the number of risk conditions among young children.

Before interventions are instituted, the need for a strong association in the connection between risk factors and their effects on young children. Frequently, evidences of childhood issues such as unmet needs are limited, thus it seriously weakens the rationale for intervention efforts. III. Background and significance Women’s typical stressors During the time of post-independence, it has been realized that women were granted an active participation and cooperation to the progress of a nation.

They were provided with equal opportunities whether in the field of education or occupation. These efforts increasingly resulted to a great change in life of women that influences their attitudes, values and roles. While women participates in the labor workforce, much of their “feminine” or nurturing roles remains unchanged. Research on women’s roles has revolved around two competing theories. The role of enhancement theory argues that employment provides psychological and social benefits to women due to increased contact, social interaction and increased sense of esteem.

In contrast, the role overload theory implies that the pressures and demands of juggling multiple roles including career, parenting, spouse roles, may exhaust women’s personal resources and impair women’s physical and mental health (Singh & Shyam 2007). Rosenfield (1999) reported that women perform 66 percent more of the domestic work compared to men. The study showed that women sleep one half hour less per night and perform an extra month of work each year. Some of the obstacles to women’s psychological health are the emerging demands and challenges linked to work and non-work responsibilities of women.

Thus, it is assumed that most patients in psychiatric facilities experienced stress from multiple roles at home and work. Besides the multiple roles of women, personality variables could also affect reactivity to the demands of multiple role-playing. In relation to, Type-A individuals are more motivated to control stressful situations compared to Type-B individuals (Glass 1977). Houston and Kelly (1987) studied Type-A behavior among housewives when it comes to work, marital adjustment, stress, tension, health, fear of failure and self-esteem.

Ninety-five housewives were administered the Framingham Type-A Scale and the Jenkins Activity Survey. The data gathered were from personal interview and questionnaire concerning different aspects of their daily lives, various psychological and psychosocial variables. Type-A was found out to be in contrast from Type-B concerning more stressful, work-related experiences. Type-A reported lower covert self-esteem and report more fear of failure than Type-B. Men’s typical stressors The traditional role of men is marked with expectations for superior physical strength, intellect, or sexual performance.

Some situations typically produces stress for men that challenges their self-identity hence makes them feel inadequate. Research indicates that men who strictly adhere to extreme gender roles are at higher risk for mental disorders. Traditional male gender roles are adhered in particular cultures. An exaggerated form of masculinity is characterized by qualities such as concerns for personal honor, virility, physical strength, heavy drinking, toughness, aggression, risk-taking, authoritarianism, and self-centeredness.

In a study by Jose Abreu and colleagues, an exaggerated form of masculinity is adopted by Latino men, coming close are European Americans, and then African Americans. Mental Health Well-being is defined as a subjective, positive emotional state with general life satisfaction (Diener 1984). The most common and comprehensive indicator of the sense of well-being including life satisfaction which refers to a person’s global judgment of his or her quality of life, feeling of contentment and happiness. Mental health is best achieved by maintaining a balance between masculine and feminine qualities.

When either set of qualities is taken to the extreme and to the exclusion of the other is detrimental to health and self-esteem. A non-traditional gender role orientation would combine the best of both genders: a social focus (reciprocally supportive relationships and a balance between interests of self and others) and active coping strategies. It is also necessary to know the educational attainment, family environments, emotional health and marital status of patients. Educational attainment influence socio-economic status or level of prosperity and welfare of people consequently contribute to wellbeing.

Higher educational attainment are typically associated with higher income, higher standards of living and above average health (Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics 2004). Vulnerability to depression presumably began in early family environments in which the children’s needs for security, comfort, and acceptance are not met. In fact, a study found out that two-year-old children with secure attachments to his or her primary care givers were more cooperative, persistent, and enthusiastic, show more positive affect, and function and better overall than those with insecure attachments (Matas, Arend, & Sroufe 1978).

Moreover, adolescents undergoing stressful life events are more likely to become depressed if they had insecure attachments to their parents than adolescents with more secure attachments (Kobak, Cole, Ferenz-Gillies, Fleming & Gamble 1993). A person’s emotional and economic wellbeing can be greatly affected by marital status. The marital status can influence living arrangements and life satisfaction. Cross sectional studies have shown that married people have significantly higher levels of subjective well-being than people in de facto relationships, newer married people, or divorced people (Singh & Shyam 2007).

A study indicated that, overall, neither women nor men are at greater risk to develop mental disorders. Certain types of disorders, however, may indicate susceptibility to males or females. Gender identification possesses advantages and disadvantages. Findings of the study showed that women are protective against antisocial behaviors and substance abuse, but is linked to develop increased levels of avoidant coping strategies and low levels of achievement. On the other hand, men are protected against depression, but have a high tendency in antisocial behavior and substance abuse (Rosenfield 1999).

The current study attempts to determine whether men and women who has and had mental disorders experienced stress from assuming gender roles. Women participants will be assessed based on their age, emotional health, personality type, and the nature of their lifestyle including their roles at home and/or work prior to admission and discharge from psychiatric care. Participants who are men will be also assessed based on their age, emotional health, employment, marital status, and nature of lifestyle upon assuming roles at work and home.

IV. Research Methodology A. Research Design The current study utilizes an approach of retrospective and explanatory to demonstrate the hypothesized relationship between gender specific role stressors and the development of mental disorders. B. Sampling Plan The study uses stratified sampling method, as it is advantageous to sample each group of participants namely men and women who have a history of mental disorders and has been treated in a psychiatric facility. Each group is divided into two based on the C. Procedures

The sampling frame included every eligible patient who had completed psychiatric rehabilitation as a treatment for mental disorders. Psychiatric nursing staff based on the given criteria initially recruited potential participants. The potential participants are those who have successfully completed psychiatric therapy and adhere on his or her medication management. As the recruitment of patients progresses gradually, the researcher seeks participants through weekly discussions with staff nurses to identify patients meeting study-screening criteria.

After initial screening administered by RN staff, the researcher explains the study to the potential participants and obtained patient consent. The staff nurses are not asked to secure patient consent since patients might be compelled to participate in order to please their caregivers. The researcher is not the direct patient caregiver thus it is less likely that patients would be compelled to participate in the study when they are not initially willing to do so. Patients are asked to sign an authorization to use protected health information before the conduct of the study, as medical records will be utilized.

Initial data are collected through open-ended questions asking about the participant’s history on family and relationship to parents, marital or single status, educational attainment, occupation, experiences and understanding on current medical condition. D. Operationalization of Concepts and Measurement Variables The current study investigates the hypothesized relationship between gender specific role stressors and the development of mental disorders. The two concepts of gender specific role stressors, as the independent variable, and the development of mental disorders, as dependent variable, are involved in the study.

The main concept that needs to be operationalized and measured is mental disorders. Gender specific role stressors will be measured through retrospective means via structured questionnaire and interviews. A correlation of other variables such as gender, age, emotional health, marital status, educational attainment, occupation history, type of personality (Type A or Type B) will be taken into consideration upon administering the structured questionnaire and interviews towards determining the hypothesis.

Mental disorders can be measured through past and current information of the patient including family history and relationship, DSM-IV results, and medical history relating to length and frequency of psychiatric admission and current and past medications given. Level of Measurement The independent variable of gender specific role stressors such as gender, age, emotional health, marital status, educational attainment, occupation history, type of personality is measured at a nominal level and ordinal level or referred to as categorical variables.

The attribute of the categorical variables will have a central tendency measured as mode and chi square. The same level of measurement will be applied to the dependent variable. Instrumentation The structured questionnaire will ask participants both basic information and other pertinent information including but not limited to age, gender, family background, family relationships, occupation, marital status, Several psychiatric tests will be employed to determine gender specific role stressors and its relationship to mental disorders.

DSM-IV-TR will also be utilized to know the history of the client but not necessarily to know the underlying cause of the mental disorder. Personality tests in mental health will be determined with the use of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) 2. Trained professionals to assist in identifying personality structure and psychopathology use the MMPI 2 test. It is appropriate for use with adults 18 and over. The current MMPI-2 has 567 items, all true or false formats, and typically lasts between 1 and 2 hours to complete depending on reading level.

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