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Although Indian society is marked by deep gender inequality, evidence linking gender socialization to mental health problems among youth is sorely lacking. When obstacles on the path to success are removed for males without regard to the cost for female children, male children should benefit while female children must work harder to keep up. A household schedule was administered in participating households to determine whether there was an age-eligible youth living in the household.
For each item, a negative emotional state was coded 1 and 0 otherwise.
Moreover, she suggested that researchers need to integrate these linkages in a way that acknowledges their geographic and historical specificity and s for different life stages. Indeed, there are only a few studies that evaluate the links between gender socialization and youth mental health. Gender socialization occurs not only through the acquisition of gender-appropriate behaviours, but also through observing adults in the household, who are role models to children. It is hypothesized that male youth will experience more freedom and privileges than female youth in their households.
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Thus, in households where there is greater gender inequality, male youth should be expected to report fewer mental health problems. For female youth, living in a household with higher levels of gender inequality should be associated with greater mental health problems. To preserve confidentiality, consent forms were detached and stored separately from completed questionnaires. Finally, it was hypothesized that behaviours that contravene gender-specific norms, such as when females engage in male-typed chores and males perform tasks that are coded feminine, will be associated with worse mental health.
Gender socialization: differences between male and female youth in india and associations with mental health
Differences in recognizing gender-discriminatory practices within households and gender egalitarian attitudes between male and female youth were also examined. Boys learn how to exercise their authority over girls, whereas girls learn to submit.
The items were summed to produce a score for each individual, with mental health problems increasing as scores, ranging from 0 to 12, increase. This paper describes patterns of gender socialization among youth in India and evaluates how these patterns are associated with their mental health. First, stress process recognizes that stressors are generally harmful for the mental health of male and female youth. Together, these findings suggest that gender inequality permeates family life in India, with corresponding consequences for the mental well-being of male and female youth.
All models control for a wide range of demographic variables including age in yearsurban versus rural, region north, west, and southreligious affiliation Hindu, Muslim, and otherand caste general castes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribe, other backward castes, and not known. There was no replacement for households that could not be contacted or refused to participate. In households where there were multiple age-eligible youth, the Kish table was used to select one married and one unmarried youth, resulting in a maximum of two interviews Sex east indian female Independence household.
Linking these broad structural forces to individual health outcomes, however, requires researchers to pay greater attention to the microlevel processes that reproduce gender inequality. The decision was warranted given that the GHQ is widely accepted as a screening tool for mental health problems but performs poorly in clinical settings as a diagnostic instrument.
Female youth expressed more gender-egalitarian attitudes than male youth but reported greater restrictions to their independence than male youth. Once the PSUs were selected, household selection involved systematic sampling using a self-weighing de that took into the target sample. The first goal was to describe differences in gender socialization by comparing youth-reported family experiences, independence, and gender role attitudes.
Despite being banned sinceselective abortion of female foetuses has become increasingly common and excess female mortality among children under age 5 years is seen in all parts of the country [ 4 ]. At the same time, however, it must be recognized that exposure to these stressors is not random, with females more likely to encounter barriers to independence because of their sex.
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These ideas, combined with stress process theory, comprise the theoretical basis of the current study. Poisson models revealed that female youth experienced more mental health problems when their households engaged in practices that favoured males over females, even as these same practices were associated with fewer mental health problems among male youth.
Finally, stress process recognizes that stressors arise when male and female youth engage in behaviour that is inconsistent with the expectations for their gender. Research in India has already established that violence is transmitted across generations, showing that married men who, as children, witnessed their father beating their mother were ificantly more likely to condone and commit acts of violence against their own wives [ 6 ].
For example, when male youth engage in domestic chores within the home, they are performing activities that are coded as feminine.
This study, however, narrowly evaluated gender-discriminatory practices with two questions asking whether the youth were treated differently or restrained from certain activities because of their gender. While gender norms are broadly reinforced culturally and institutionally, it is within the household that children first learn about gender roles, equating maleness with power and authority and femaleness with inferiority and subservience.
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The scale has strong psychometric properties with acceptable internal consistency [ 14 ] and has been widely used throughout India and demonstrates validity in the Indian population [ 15 — 18 ]. Nonetheless, the obstacles to achieving this goal are daunting, given that gender inequality is often entrenched at all levels of society and, thus, requires changing both institutional structures and individual behaviours. When these restrictions are condoned by political and legal systems, women and girls become powerless to protect themselves from harm and are made vulnerable to disease, mental disorder, and death [ 1 ].
Approximately 75 locally trained and regularly supervised field investigators collected data over a six- to eight-month period. That is, gendered norms govern what is deemed to be acceptable behaviour for the sexes and become the basis upon which girls and women throughout the world are systematically given fewer resources and opportunities than boys and men.
Second, it is likely that gender unequal practices within households produce their intended effect. Thus, witnessing violence between parents and experiencing parental beatings are well-established predictors of mental health problems for both male and female youth [ 89 ]. From an early age, Indian girls are told that their proper place is in the home, fulfilling domestic duties and attending to the needs of men, whereas males learn that they are superior to women and must exercise authority over them [ 5 ]. In their analysis of predictors of common mental disorders in Indian youth aged 15—24 from state of Goa, Fernandes et al.
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Family violence and restrictions to independence were associated with mental health problems for both male and female youth. After removing youth who were missing on the key variables of interest, analysis was conducted on a final sample of 44, youth The dependent variable, mental health problems, was assessed with the item General Health Questionnaire inventory GHQoriginally developed in the United Kingdom to screen for nonspecific psychiatric morbidity in the general population [ 13 ].
The PSUs selected were then ordered by district and taluka codes and ed from 1 to For urban areas, the Census list of wards containing multiple census enumeration blocks CEBs served as the sampling frame, with selection proceeding in three stages. Moss [ 2 ] effectively bridged macro- and microlevel processes by identifying the household as an important site of gendered practices, whereby members favour male children but curb opportunities and resources for female children.
Although most studies impose a diagnostic cut-off, this study retained the dependent variable as a scale. Conversely, higher levels of gender-discriminatory practices should be associated with greater mental health problems among female youth. The survey employed a multistage sampling de, initially selecting primary sampling units PSUs in each state, split equally between rural and urban areas. Complete details on all aspects of the survey are available elsewhere [ 12 ]. Because gender-discriminatory practices afford advantages to males while simultaneously blocking opportunities for females, it was hypothesized that higher levels of gender-discriminatory practices within household will be associated with fewer Sex east indian female Independence health problems among male youth.
Although two individuals could be interviewed in a given household, few households contributed more than one observation. Scales better reflect the full spectrum of variation in mental health whereas arbitrary cut-offs lose important information [ 19 ]. With few lifestyle options outside of marriage, girls are expected to marry.
No replacement of a selected youth was allowed. First, villages were selected systematically from a stratified list based on region, village size, caste composition, and female literacywith selection probability proportional to size.
When the household is characterized by family violence, children encounter another form of gender socialization. That is, children who witness fathers beating their mothers may become conditioned to accept violence in their relationships. Male youth recognized more gender-discriminatory practices within their households than did the female youth.
Thus, it is likely that performing sex-atypical tasks will be associated with greater mental health problems. Data come from the Youth in India: Situation and Needs Studya subnationally representative survey conducted during — Descriptive underscored the gendered nature of socialization experiences, showing that male and female youth inhabit different social worlds. Experiences that are stressful exposure to family violence and restrictions to independence are hypothesized to be equally detrimental to the mental health of male and female youth.
The second goal was to apply insights from stress process to test whether gender socialization was associated with mental health problems among male and female youth. Pillai and colleagues [ 11 ] found that youth living in Goa who engaged in independent decision-making were less likely to be suicidal than youth who were unable to make independent decisions.
First, wards were ordered by district and female literacy, and then 75 wards were selected systematically with probability proportional to size. In rural areas, the Census villages served as the sampling frame, with selection proceeding in two stages. The choice to deate male and female PSUs was guided by concern that the sensitive nature of some questions might lead to teasing, damaged reputations, or violence, if respondents became aware that similar questions were being asked of the opposite sex.
This small amount of evidence on the Indian context lends support to the idea that gender socialization is linked to mental health problems in male and female youth. The study further noted frequent verbal or physical abuse by parents, low parental support, and gender-based discrimination as ificant predictors of mental health problems among Goan youth.
Similarly, barriers that inhibit efforts to become more independent may create frustration and despair for youth, generating mental health problems regardless of gender. Informed consent was obtained from all respondents as well as parents of unmarried minor youth. Second, within each selected ward, CEBs were arranged by their administrative and one CEB was selected proportional to size.
In India, households are a primary site in which male privilege and control over women are expressed. Importantly, prior research shows that diagnostic cut-offs for the GHQ in the Indian population have low positive predictive value [ 17 ]. Youth were asked to indicate whether in the past month they had experienced a range of positive and negative emotions including feeling constantly under strain, worthless as person, unhappy and depressed, capable of making decisions, and able to enjoy normal activities.
Listed as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals, the goal of ameliorating gender inequality and empowering women is well recognized as a critical tool for advancing population health, improving life chances, and bringing economic prosperity to low- and middle-income countries.
When males and females engaged in behaviours contravening sex-specific gender norms, there were corresponding increases in mental health problems for both sexes. As such, the current study had two aims. The survey tools were informed by existing surveys and an intensive presurvey with youth, parents, and key stakeholders, both before and after it was translated into four languages Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu, reflecting the major language groups of selected states. Specifically, households contained two interviewed respondents and households contained one interviewed respondent, resulting in a trivial amount of clustering 1.