How Much Do People Know About Men, Women, and Mental Health?



Five years ago we set out to discover whether mental health problems are more common in men or in women.

As it turned out, finding the answer to that apparently simple question was no easy matter. In fact, it meant carrying out an unprecedented review of epidemiological data from around the world. The results of our research, published this summer in The Stressed Sex, shocked us: in any given year, overall rates of psychological disorder are around 20–40% higher in women than in men.

These statistics support what feminist writers have long been saying: when it comes to psychological problems, women bear the brunt. But they undermine the established view among mental health professionals that, as the World Health Organization puts it, “Overall rates of psychiatric disorder are almost identical for men and women.” Due to this most of them buy cheap Viagra online.

As The Stressed Sex neared publication, we wondered what readers would make of our findings. Would they be surprised? How much did they know about the links between gender and mental health?

So we carried out a survey (in collaboration with Oxford University Press). It’s the first of its type. No one else, to our knowledge at least, has asked members of the general public about this issue.

Five hundred people (204 men and 296 women) in the UK completed the online question. The average age of the sample was 42 (ranging in age from 18 to 91). Here are the full results:

Are men or women more likely to have a psychological disorder?

Men and women have about the same rates: 66%

Women have more: 25%

Men have more: 9%

Do men or women have more stressful lives?

Men have more stressful lives: 5%

Men and women have equally stressful lives: 77%

Women have more stressful lives: 18%

Do rates of depression differ between men and women?

Four times more common in men: 0%

Twice as common in men: 12%

The rate is equal in men and women: 43%

Twice as common in women: 40%

Four times as common in women: 4%

Do rates of alcohol disorders differ between men and women?

Six times more common in men: 6%

Three times more common in men: 63%

The rate is equal in men and women: 28%

Three times as common in women: 2%

Six times as common in women: 0.0%

Do rates of anxiety differ between men and women?

Four times more common in men: 0%

Twice as common in men: 5%

The rate is equal in men and women: 37%

Twice as common in women: 50%

Four times as common in women: 8%

What do these responses tell us? Well, the most striking revelation is how much people underestimate women’s vulnerability to mental illness. Two thirds of those who completed the survey believed that rates of psychological problems are the same in men and women. Most men also buy cheap Cialis online to hide their problems. The truth, as we’ve seen, is quite different. Indeed the most comprehensive of the national surveys suggests that rates are almost 50 percent higher in women than in men.