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The gender gap in adolescent mental health: a cross-national investigation of 566,829 adolescents across 73 countries

Campbell, OLK; Bann, D; Patalay, P; (2021) The gender gap in adolescent mental health: a cross-national investigation of 566,829 adolescents across 73 countries. SSM - Population Health , Article 100742. 10.1016/j.ssmph.2021.100742. Green open access

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Abstract

Mental ill-health is a leading cause of disease burden worldwide. While women suffer from greater levels of mental health disorders, it remains unclear whether this gender gap differs systematically across regions and/or countries, or across the different dimensions of mental health. We analysed 2018 data from 566,827 adolescents across 73 countries for 4 mental health outcomes: psychological distress, life satisfaction, eudaemonia, and hedonia. We examine average gender differences and distributions for each of these outcomes as well as country-level associations between each outcome and purported determinants at the country level: wealth (GDP per capita), inequality (Gini index), and societal indicators of gender inequality (GII, GGGI, and GSNI). We report four main results: 1) The gender gap in mental health in adolescence is largely ubiquitous cross-culturally, with girls having worse average mental health; 2) There is considerable cross-national heterogeneity in the size of the gender gap, with the direction reversed in a minority of countries; 3) Higher GDP per capita is associated with worse average mental health and a larger gender gap across all mental health outcomes; and 4) more gender equal countries have larger gender gaps across all mental health outcomes. Taken together, our findings suggest that while the gender gap appears largely ubiquitous, its size differs considerably by region, country, and dimension of mental health. Findings point to the hitherto unrealised complex nature of gender disparities in mental health and possible incongruence between expectations and reality in high gender equal countries.

Type: Article
Title: The gender gap in adolescent mental health: a cross-national investigation of 566,829 adolescents across 73 countries
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2021.100742
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmph.2021.100742
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121717
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