Discussion response Gender, Stress, and Mental Health

Discussion response: Gender, Stress, and Mental Health

Whether you are male or female, you no doubt face some level of stress in your life. Even good things that happen, such as marriage, a job promotion, a move to a new home, or birth of a baby, can be stressful. People deal with stress in different ways. Some handle life stressors in positive and healthy ways, while others allow stressors to impact their health. The damaging effects of stress have been shown to be a potential factor in cardiovascular disease, cancer, hypertension, and numerous other issues. In addition, there are many stress-related mental health problems, such as depression, suicide, anxiety, and substance abuse that can be in part related to stress and the ability to deal effectively with stress.

Respond to BOTH STUDENT A and B one of the following ways:
Ask a probing question, and provide insight into how you would answer your question and why.
Ask a probing question, and provide the foundation (or rationale) for the question.
Expand on your colleague’s posting by offering a new perspective or insight.
Agree with a colleague and offer additional (new) supporting information for consideration.
Disagree with a colleague by respectfully discussing and supporting a different perspective.

Support your reply to your colleague’s post with at least one reference (textbook) You may state your opinion and/or provide personal examples; however, you must also back up your assertions with evidence (including in-text citations) from the source and provide a reference.

Learning Resources
Brannon, L. (2017). Gender: Psychological perspectives (7th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Chapter 14, “Stress, Coping, and Psychopathology” (pp. 429-456)
Chapter 13, “Health and Fitness” (pp. 390-418)

Brannon (2018) states that stress is an inevitable and unavoidable part of life. Everyone will deal with stress in their lifetimes and some more than others. Poverty affects 12.3 % of people in the United States, it can be caused by a number of things including unemployment, divorce, being a single parent, inability to services and having an untreated mental health disorder (Brannon, 2018). Poverty affects women and ethnic minority families more than any other group and because of this women run a higher risk of developing mental and physical health problems. There are several factors that place women at high risk of poverty, they include the gender wage gaps, women’s prevalence in low-paid occupations, a lack of work-family supports, and the challenges involved in accessing public help (2013). In the article Analyzing poverty from a Gender Perspective (n.d.) it states that gender specific risk factors for common mental disorders that disproportionately affect women include gender based violence, socioeconomic disadvantage, low income and income inequality, low or subordinate social status and rank and unremitting responsibility for the care of others.

Mental health issues that can arise as a result of poverty include anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. Women will often sacrifice their own needs for the needs of others. Historically women have been expected to “do it all”, work, take care of the house and kids and please their husbands, when they are unsuccessful and find themselves not able to keep food on the table it can cause an enormous amount of stress leading to a mental health issue. Men may also find themselves depressed when faced with poverty and loss of income, some may ignore it and instead go about their lives as if nothing is wrong while others may turn to alcohol and drugs to hide their feelings regarding their situation. Men are expected to be the “provider” of the family and being in financial devastation could make them feel like a failure. Men may turn to drug and alcohol intake to hide their feelings or withdraw socially. In some cases men will abandon their families entirely rather than deal with the issues at hand (n.d.)

Gender and women’s mental health. (2013, June 24). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/genderwomen/en/.

Analyzing Poverty from a Gender Perspective. (n.d.). Gender, Generation and Poverty. doi:10.4337/9781847206886.00010

Brannon, L. (2018). Gender psychological perspectives. New York, NY: Allyn & Bacon.

One example of a stressful life situation would be giving birth to another child. If a couple has just given birth to their third child, they have a 10 and a 4 year old already, they are likely to experience extreme amounts of stress. The stressors in this situation are endless. The husband will feel more stress because he will feel like he needs to help his wife recover, help with the new baby and also give his older 2 children more attention to help them adjust to the situation, all while working and doing his regular duties, he will also likely feel more stress in doing household work such as laundry, dishes, cleaning, and cooking, since his wife will be doing less of those things with a new baby. The wife will also feel different stressors, like the stress of needing to help the two older children adjust and spend time with them so they do not feel left out, the stress of being a mom to the newborn, the stress of still being a homemaker and accomplishing all her household duties, stress of maybe trying to get back to work soon, stress of feeling guilty for trying to go back to work soon, and the stress of recovering from labor while also doing all of these other things. Although some of these stressors seem like they overlap for the husband and wife, they will all be experienced differently between the two. For example, they will both feel stressed to get more of the homemaker duties completed, but the wife will feel stress because she normally does most of it, so she will feel guilty and stressed for trying to complete it and for not always doing so, or feeling like she is failing when she does not complete those duties. The husband will feel the stress of doing those things in order to help his wife, but will likely not feel the guilt and failure in it that the wife will feel since those are not his usual duties.

It is likely that the husband and wife would cope with these stressors differently. For example, women are more likely to ask for help when they feel stressed, so to cope the woman might ask family or friends to come help her with the newborn, the older kids or the housework, in order to lighten the load of stress (Brannon, 2017, p. 437). When men are coping with stress they are likely to partake in problem focused coping (Brannon, 2017, p. 438). That being said, they could ask for help, or they could hire a housecleaner to help with the house, they could come home later to remove themselves from the situation (even though that clearly would not help). Men are more likely to try and gain control over the stressful situation, where as women are more likely to become upset and express negative feelings (Brannon, 2017, p. 437).

There is a possibility of mental health disorders in both the husband and wife. Those risks of developing a mental health disorder will go down if they continue to be in a happy relationship, however if the stress from the newborn causes a large toll on their relationship their risks of developing mental health issues goes up (Brannon, 2017, p. 430). The husband is more prone to developing a mental health disorder than the wife, because men usually experience less stress, they are more likely to develop depression, considering they are not used to finding positive ways to cope with that stress (Brannon, 2017, p. 429). Both the male and female are in similar situations with similar stressors, but both experience those stressors differently, as well as cope with those stressors differently.

Brannon, L. (2017). Gender: Psychological perspectives (7th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.