Gender Differences in Psychological Well-Being and Distress During Adolescence
Several investigations report a greater prevalence of depressive and anxious symptoms and emotional distress in girls compared to boys. Furthermore, the scientific literature points out that females show lower psychological well-being levels compared to males. Since, in the most of these studies, participants were already out of adolescence or were adults and aging individuals, the aim of this investigation is to explore gender differences in the levels of psychological well-being and distress during adolescence, one of the most controversial periods of human life. Five hundred and seventy-two adolescents (313 females, 259 males; mean age 13.63 years, SD = 1.94) were recruited from various middle and high schools in Northern Italy, which volunteered to participate in the study. Subjects were administered the following self-rating scales: (1) Psychological Well-Being (PWB) Scales, (2) Symptom Questionnaire (SQ). Student t-test was used to analyze gender differences in PWB and SQ scores. Gender differences in psychological well-being levels were not found, even if on- test females tend to report lower scores in Self-Acceptance scale (PWB) than males. Girls reported higher levels of distress than boys. t-Test indicated significant gender differences in all SQ scales, except in friendliness. On retest, results were very similar. Females scored significantly higher than males in all SQ scales, except in contentment, where females reported better levels compared to previous data. This investigation points out that females reported higher levels of distress than males, but unlike the preceding studies, it also highlights that girls showed similar levels of psychological well-being compared to boys. These results suggest that adolescence is a period of the life with peculiar characteristics in boys and girls and that further investigations are needed.
KeywordsPositive Relation Significant Gender Difference Symptom Questionnaire Significant Lower Level Environmental Mastery
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