Socio-economic Wellbeing and Mental Health Profile of Rural Hill Women of Uttarakhand, India

  • Lata PandeEmail author
  • Jyoti Tiwari
  • Chhavi Arya
Part of the Perspectives on Geographical Marginality book series (PGEO)


Women in Uttarakhand face marginalization and deprivation in several respects. Women’s health involves their emotional, social and physical well-being which in turn is determined by the biological, social, political and economic context of their lives. Women are unable to reach their full potential because of persistent health, nutrition, social and gender inequalities and health system inadequacies. The present study was conducted on 250 women respondents of reproductive age (15–49 years) in three developmental blocks (Dwarahat, Hawalbagh and Takula) of Almora district, Uttarakhand, India with an aim to study the socio-economic scenario and mental health profile of rural hill women. Survey of the selected households revealed that caste system was a dominant feature of the village society where the percentage of Brahmins was 23.39%, Rajputs 27.38%, Vaishyas 8.00%, Schedule caste 21.31%, Schedule tribe 3.05% and Other backward category 8.85%. On the basis of religion, Muslims and Christians were a minority. Investigation of sex ratio in selected households showed that 46.80% households had high sex ratio however 53.20% had low sex ratio. The majority of the respondents were literate women, however, 34.87% were illiterate. Respondents with education up to primary were 24.53%, middle 15.75%, high school 12.04%, intermediate 7.90% and graduation 4.97%. A gradual decline was observed in the number of respondents with increase in educational level. Most of the respondents were engaged in agricultural activities including animal husbandry and only a few depended on service and wage labour for their livelihood. Data showed that majority of the subjects worked for 12–16 h which did not contribute much to improve the economic condition of the respondents as is clear from the low earnings of the respondents. From the selected sample 80.00% of female respondents participated in decisions related to agriculture and livestock, however, the percentage of females participating in family decisions was 32.4%, in social decisions 31.20%, in decisions about children’s education 54.80%, in economic decisions 15.60% and in health and reproductive decisions 62.80%. No significant differences were found in decision-making pattern of women selected from the three developmental blocks. Mental health status of respondents was poor and majority of respondents were mentally stressed with the trauma of social insult, 42.40% were stressed due to physical violence and did not differ significantly among the women selected from the three developmental blocks. The percentage of women suffering from antepartum depression was 16.80% and from post-partum depression 7.60%. Most of the respondents got married and faced their first pregnancy at the age ranging from 18 to 21 years. Overall results of the study reveal unsatisfactory socio-economic condition and stressed out state of mental health of rural hill women belonging to study area of Uttarakhand, India.


Socio-economic scenario Mental health Ante and postpartum depression 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Home Science DepartmentKamoun UniversityNainitalIndia
  2. 2.Home Science DepartmentHNB Garhwal University Srinagar CampusSrinagarIndia

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