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PSYC 3480 (233)
Chapter 12

chapter12women.odt

8 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 3480
Professor
Noreen Stuckless

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Chapter 12 – psychological disorders: emotions, thoughts, and behaviours that are maladaptive, distressing, and different from the social norm – women are more likely than men to suffer from depression and eating disorders – they are also more likely to seek therapy for these problems – men are more likely than women to experience a different pattern of problems – men are more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs – men are more likely to have personality disorder, which includes behaviours that clearly violate the rights of other people; these behaviours include excessive aggressiveness, impulsiveness and lying – people with this disorder also believe that they are perfectly well adjusted, but everyone else in the world has problems – incidence psychological disorders in men/women roughly similar, specific disorders may differ DEPRESSION – major depressive disorder; frequent episodes of hopelessness and low self esteem, seldom find pleasure in any activities – depression is one of the five most prevalent health threats throughout the world – women are 2-3 times more likely to experience depression during their lifetime – no consistent gender differences in depression are found among young children – around the time of puberty, females begin reporting more depressive symptoms than males – gender differences in depression are substantial for all U.S ethnic groups Characteristics of Depression – emotional symptoms: feeling sad, tearful, apathetic, irritable, and unable to experience pleasure – cognitive symptoms: thoughts of inadequacy, worthlessness, helplessness, self blame, and pessimism about the future; these negative thoughts interfere with normal functioning, so that depressed people have trouble concentrating and making decisions – physical symptoms: illnesses such as headaches, dizzy spells, fatigue, indigestion, and generalized pain, weight gain/loss – behavioural symptoms: decreased ability to do ordinary tasks, decreased productivity at work, neglected personal appearance, decreased social interactions, and sleep problems – women are typically more likely to think about suicide and attempt it, but men are more likely to die from suicide – in China, women are more likely than men to die from suicide – women with major depression struggle with persistent depression, without relief – depression is correlated with certain personality characteristics such as low self esteem, traditional feminine gender type, and little sense of control over their own lives Explanations of the Gender Difference in Depression Factors No longer considered Relevant – several decades ago many theorists believed that gender differences in biological factors could explain why women are more likely to be depressed – for example, gender differences could be directly traced to biochemical factors, or some genetic factor associated with having two X chromosomes – reviews of the literature suggest that biological factors do not convincingly explain the greater prevalence of depression in women – all of the following factors help explain why the rate of depression is so much higher in women 1)Gender Differences in Seeking Therapy – women are more likely to seek medical help and therapy – possible that women and men equally depressed but women are simply more likely to seek help – research shows that men are less likely than women to report symptoms of depression if they think that a therapist will contact them about potential depression 2)Diagnostic Biases in Therapists – therapists tend to equate healthy adults with healthy men , whereas healthy adult women are rated as substantially less healthy than those two other categories – before therapists have any information they consider adult women to be less healthy – therapists are more likely to supply a diagnosis of major depression for women, compared to men with similar psychological symptoms – therapists tend to underdiagnose depression in men, overdiagnose in women – therapists are guided by their stereotypes about men being tough, so they are reluctant to conclude that men have depression – men may respond to depression by drinking excessively or using illegal substances – therapists may diagnose a substance abuse problem rather than depression 3)General DiscriminationAgainst Women – discrimination seems to increase incidence of depression in women – women experience general discrimination, and their accomplishments are often devalue relative to those of men 4)ABuse and Violence – many females are the targets of violence, some girls are sexually abused during childhood – interpersonal violence contributes to depression – women are more likely to feel depressed and anxious if they have been raped or experience physical or psychological abuse 5)Poverty – social class influences psychological and physical well-being – people with economic problems are especially likely to experience psychological depression – low income women have far fewer options than women with financial resources – it is surprising that more low income women do not experience depression 6)Housework – women who choose a traditional role as a full time homemaker often find that their chores are unstimulating and undervalued; such unrewarding work may lead to depression – women who work outside of the house often have the equivalent of two jobs – women who become overwhelmed with housework, in addition to job, may develop depression 7)Emphasis on PhysicalAppearance – some women become excessively concerned about physical appearance, dissatisfaction may contribute to depression 8)Women's Relationships – women are more likely than men to feel responsible for making sure that their interpersonal relationships are going well – Latina girls and women may be especially self sacrificing – many women become overly involved in problems of their friends and family members – women sometimes have closer relationships with their friends than men do – some cases,women are so involved with others problems that they neglect their own needs 9)Rumination – more women than men seek therapy and therapists tend to overdiagnose depression in women – parents much more likely to encourage girls rather than boys, to contemplate why they are sad – depressed women are more likely than men to turn inward and focus on their symptoms – they contemplate possible causes and consequences of their emotions, an approach called a ruminative style response – women are more likely than men to use ruminative strategies when they are depressed – Black, Chinese, and SouthAsian students typically ruminate more than White students – rumination can intensify a bad mood, tends to create a negative bias in people's thinking, so that pessimistic and ineffective ideas come easily to mind – people are therefore more likely to blame themselves and feel helpless about solving their problems – this pessimism increases the likelihood of more long term, serious depression – women often worry about other peoples problems – women who tend to ruminate about all these problems often make their depressed mood even worse Conclusions About Gender and Depression – many psychiatrists and other mental health professionals strongly emphasize biological factors, which reside inside each person – when they treat depression, they simply prescribe an antidepressant such as Prozac, rather than address problems in society – policy on welfare has changed and the current policy suggests that women should be blamed for being poor, it's not the governments job to reduce poverty – feminist psychologists emphasize a different strategy: to address psychological problems, we must acknowledge that these problems occur in a social context BODY WIEGHTAND EATING DISORDERS – most women in North American are preoccupied with their body weight – people emphasize body weight much more when they judge women than when they judge men – the emphasis on women's thinness and dieting combined with the fear of being overweight are major factors in creating eating disorders The Culture of Thinness – most northAmerican females are concerned that they are overweight, even when their weight is appropriate; this tendency is called the culture of thinness – extremely thin images we see in fashion magazines and other media are an important part of the culture of thinness – media emphasize weight consciousness, slenderness, and dieting in women – when women see images of slender women, they tend to be especially anxious and dissatisfied with their own bodies Objectified Body Consciousness and Body Dissatisfaction – attractiveness is increasingly emphasized as a young women moves through adolescence and into adulthood – objectified body consciousness- tend to view self as an object that can be looked at and judged by other people – women's objectified body consciousness typically increases when they repeatedly encounter images of slender women in the media – females more likely than men to view their bodies as objects and to be dissatisfied with bodies – emphasis on physical appearance can contribute to eating disorders and depression,also helps to explain gender differences in the prevalence of these two categories of psychological disorders Women of Colour and Body Dissatisfaction – white women are somewhat more dissatisfied with their bodies than Black women – this finding is consistent with reports that Black women also believe that an average weight woman is more attractive than a too-thin woman – white women, asian american women, and latina women had virtually identical levels of body dissatisfaction – difference in body dissatisfaction between Black an White women may depend on womens age – latina women from a wealthy south american background may be more dissatisfied with their bodies than latina women from a low income CentralAmerican or Caribbean background – Asian American women may be dissatisfied with the size of their breasts, but not with their body weight – the results on body dissatisfaction cannot be explained by the amount of exposure to North American culture – European Canadian women has more positive body images thanAsian women did Discrimination Against overweight Girls and Women – people discriminate more strongly against overweight women than against overweight men – women who are overweight are also less likely to be hired than slender women – overweight women typically earn lower salaries, and are less likely to be promoted – people also think that overweight women are less likely to have a romantic partner – this belief may partially explain why some men deliberately look for overweight women as easy targets for sexual assault – even children in preschool and elementary school report that they would prefer to be friends with a slender child, rather than a heavier one – children tease overweight girls more than overweight boys – fat studies argues that we live in a fat hating culture, and that we need to rethink our approach to body weight Body Weight and Dieting – depending on specific measure, roughly 65% of the adult population in the United States is considered overweight – the fear of becoming overweight is a major factor in developing an eating disorder – people who eat foods that are high in fat and who also do not exercise sufficiently are more likely to face health risks – overweight people are ore likely than other people to be at risk for diabetes, heart disease, and certain kinds of cancer – most people who have lost weight gain it back Eating Disorders – anorexia nervosa has an extreme fear of becoming obese, and she or he refuses to maintain an adequate body weight defined as 85% of expected weight, distorted body image – more common is white females than black women – many who develop this disorder are perfectionists who a
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