Study Says Wage Gap Linked to Depression in Women
According to a new study from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the wage gap between American women and American men might be one reason why women have higher rates of depression and anxiety.
The study findings were clear: Women with lower incomes than men with similar levels of education and experience were about 2.5 times more likely to have major depression than men. But, women who had incomes similar to their male counterparts didn't have any greater risk of depression than men.
Researchers looked at data gathered from more than 22,000 working adults, aged 30 to 65. The information was collected between 2001 and 2002. In addition to finding that women who earned less than men were far more likely to be depressed, the investigators also found that women had more than double the risk of generalized anxiety disorder in the past year.
These results suggest that women may be more likely to place the blame for their lower income on themselves, and not on gender discrimination. "If women internalize these negative experiences as reflective of inferior merit, rather than the result of discrimination, they may be at increased risk for depression and anxiety disorders," study author Jonathan Platt said.
The study’s senior author Katherine Keyes added, “It's commonly believed that gender differences in depression and anxiety have biological roots. These results suggest that such differences are much more socially constructed than previously thought, indicating that gender disparities in psychiatric disorders are malleable and arise from unfair treatment."
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