ERIC Number: ED255784
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Aging and Psychological Distress: Are There Gender Differences?
Feinson, Marjorie Chary
Although there is consensus in the mental health literature that women report more distress and depressive symptoms than men, it is not clear if this applies to all age groups. To examine the relationship of gender and distress among older adults, two methods were employed. First, a review was conducted of all random community surveys conducted since 1950, which included older adults and reported prevelance rates by age and gender. Results showed almost as many studies (9) providing evidence of no differences or more male distress, as studies verifying more reported female distress (10). In the second approach, interviews were conducted with a random probability sample of 476 older adults living in Middlesex County, New Jersey, including 163 bereaved persons whose spouse died 6 to 24 months prior to the interview, and 313 persons with no known recent stressful life events. Psychological distress was measured by the Johns Hopkins Symptom Checklist and a modified version of the General Well Being Scale. Data analysis revealed that on five measures of distress, gender generally was not related to either moderate or severe distress symptoms for bereaved or non-bereaved respondents. For community respondents, there were no significant gender differences for individual symptoms, nor was gender significantly correlated with any of the symptom scales. The data did not support the view that older women are more distressed than older men. (Appendix A provides detailed information on the 13 studies reviewed for the first section of the research. A three-page list of references is included. (NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Administration on Aging (DHHS), Washington, DC.; National Inst. of Mental Health (DHHS), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society (37th, San Antonio, TX, November 16-20, 1984).