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More Women Than Men With Chronic Illness Seek Mental Health Services

More Women Than Men With Chronic Illness Seek Mental Health Services

New research finds that women with chronic physical illnesses are more likely to use mental health services than men with similar illnesses.

Moreover, they also seek out mental health services six months earlier than those same men.

“Chronic physical illness can lead to depression,” said Dr. Flora Matheson, a scientist in Canada’s St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).

“We want to better understand who will seek mental health services when diagnosed with a chronic physical illness so we can best help those who need care.”

The findings, published in the British Medical Journal’s Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, looked at people diagnosed with at least one of four physical illnesses: diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Researchers found that among those with at least one of these four illnesses, women were 10 percent more likely to use mental health services than men.

Furthermore, within any three-year period, women with physical illness used medical services for mental health treatment six months earlier than men.

“Our results don’t necessarily mean that more focus should be paid to women, however,” said Matheson, who is also an adjunct scientist at ICES. “We still need more research to understand why this gender divide exists.”

The results may imply that women are more comfortable seeking mental health support than men.

Alternatively, the gender discrepancy might mean that symptoms are worse among women, requiring more women to seek help and sooner, or that men defer seeking treatment for mental health concerns.

The study used data from the Canadian Community Health Survey, physician claims and inpatient medical records from ICES.

Mental illness service use was defined as one visit to a physician or specialist for mental health reasons, such as depression, anxiety, smoking addiction, or marital difficulties.

Source: St. Michael’s Hospital

 

Woman in therapy session photo by shutterstock.

More Women Than Men With Chronic Illness Seek Mental Health Services

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). More Women Than Men With Chronic Illness Seek Mental Health Services. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/06/27/more-women-than-men-with-chronic-illness-seek-mental-health-services/71785.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.