Mental Health: An Intersectional Approach

  • Verna M. KeithEmail author
  • Diane R. Brown
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


Social stratification theory predicts that racial minorities and women should have poorer mental health outcomes than Whites and men because they have less social power and fewer resources. Empirical investigations, however, reveal that race and gender differences are far more complex than theory would predict. Women are more distressed than men but distress levels are similar for Blacks and Whites. Women experience internalizing disorders such as major depression and men experience externalizing disorder such as substance abuse, but the overall prevalence of mental disorders does not vary by gender. Even more puzzling is that the overall prevalence diagnosable mental disorder is lower among Blacks than among Whites. We draw on upon intersectionality and stress perspectives to review the complex gender and race patterns observed in the epidemiology of mental health and conclude with a discussion of future research.


Race Gender Mental health 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  2. 2.Rutgers School of Public Health, Health Education and Behavioral SciencePiscatawayUSA

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