Published: 13 May 2019 at 13:31
New study led by Anglia Ruskin University shows significant gender differences
A new study shows that British adults are almost twice as likely to correctly identify signs of postnatal depression in women than in men.
The research, published in the Journal of Mental Health and led by Professor Viren Swami of Anglia Ruskin University, involved 406 British adults aged between 18 and 70.
The participants were presented with case studies of a man and a woman both displaying symptoms of postnatal depression, a mental health issue which affects as many as 13% of new parents.
This new study found that participants of both sexes were less likely to say that there was something wrong with the male (76%) compared to the female (97%).
Of the participants who did identify a problem, they were significantly more likely to diagnose postnatal depression in the female case study than the male case study. The study found that 90% of participants correctly described the female case study as suffering from postnatal depression but only 46% said the male had postnatal depression.
The participants commonly believed that the man was suffering from stress or tiredness. In fact, stress was chosen 21% of the time for the man compared to only 0.5% for the woman, despite identical symptoms.
Overall the study found that attitudes were significantly more negative towards the male case study compared to the female. It found that participants reported lower perceived distress towards the male case study’s condition, believed that the male’s condition would be easier to treat, expressed less sympathy for the male and were less likely to suggest that the male seek help.
Lead author Viren Swami, Professor of Social Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University, said: