From Rob Verger:
I welcome a review of this book by someone.
Women are more likely than men to suffer from depression. Women are more likely to suffer from anxiety, too, and sleep disorders, as well as a host of other emotional and medical problems. On the other end of the spectrum, men suffer more often from substance abuse issues and autism. But as it turns out, mental health issues do not scale up measure for measure on both sides—for women are more likely than men to struggle under the weight of many emotional disorders.
Such are the findings of The Stressed Sex: Uncovering the Truth about Men, Women, and Mental Health, a new book by Daniel and Jason Freeman, out from Oxford University Press. Authored by two brothers—one a clinical psychologist, the other a writer—the book explores the how and why behind the finding that mental health problems plague men and women to different degrees. Daniel Freeman, a psychologist and Oxford professor, says that he and his brother came across the topic indirectly. While working on a previous book on mental health problems, they noticed differences in the rates in which different emotional disorders affected the sexes. It suggests, he says, “a major public health issue.”…
To write the book, the Freemans went to the “evidence base” and looked for literature on the topic. They examined 12 national mental-health surveys, and found that in eight of them, there were distinct differences between women and men when it came to rates of disorders. A German survey showed that, in the year before the survey was conducted, 25 percent of men had suffered from an emotional disorder; for women, the number was 37 percent. In the United States, according to the U.S. National Comorbidity Survey Replication, those numbers were 29.9 percent and 34.7 percent, respectively. For depression specifically, according to the same U.S. survey, in the year before the research was done, 4.9 percent of men had experienced depression, while the number for women was nearly double at 8.6 percent. (Three of the 12 surveys the authors examined “suggest there are no major differences between the sexes,” as the book puts it.)…
So the big question is why? The answer: it’s complicated. Emotional disorders are not usually caused by one thing, but instead by many different factors—environment, psychology, biology—working together. The biggest likely factor? “The environment above all,” says Freeman. “And it’s stress. And it’s stress that’s from the social roles that women have”—such as domestic work—“all while these roles are typically less valued and less rewarded and the person has less control. It’s all of this combined with the pressures to look good, I think, that really affect women’s self-esteem.” And poor self-esteem is, not surprisingly, connected with depression.
But, Freeman, adds, “It is more complicated than that.”