Advertisement

Gender Differences in Psychological Well-Being and Distress During Adolescence

  • Dalila Visani
  • Elisa Albieri
  • Emanuela Offidani
  • Fedra Ottolini
  • Elena Tomba
  • Chiara Ruini
Chapter

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Positive Relation Significant Gender Difference Symptom Questionnaire Significant Lower Level Environmental Mastery 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Abela, J. (2001). The hopelessness theory of depression: A test of the diathesis–stress and causal mediation components in third and seventh grade children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 29, 241–254.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baron, B., & Campbell, T. L. (1993). Gender differences in the expression of depressive symptoms in middle adolescence: An extension of earlier findings. Adolescence, 28, 903–911.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Boggiano, A. K., & Barret, M. (1991). Gender differences in depression in college students. Sex Roles, 25, 595–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cyranowski, J. M., Frank, E., Young, E., & Shear, M. K. (2000). Adolescent onset and the gender difference in lifetime rates of major depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 57, 21–27.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Galambos, N. L., Barker, E. T., & Krahn, H. J. (2006). Depression, self-esteem and gender in emerging adulthood: seven-year trajectories. Developmental Psyhchology, 42, 350–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Goldbeck, L., Schmitz, T. G., Besier, T., Herschbach, P., & Henrich, G. (2007). Life satisfaction decreases during adolescence. Quality of Life Research, 16, 969–979.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hand, C. G., Archer, R. P., Handel, R. W., & Forbey, J. D. (2007). The classification accuracy of the Minnesota multiphasic personality inventory–adolescent: Effects of modifying the normative sample. Assessment, 14, 80–85.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hankin, B. L., & Abramson, L. Y. (2001). Development of gender differences in depression: An elaborated cognitive vulnerability-transactional stress theory. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 773–796.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hendriks, A. A. J., Kuyper, H., Offringa, G. J., & Van der Werf, M. P. C. (2008). Assessing young adolescents’ personality with the five-factor personality inventory. Assessment, 15, 304–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kellner, R. (1987). Symptom questionnaire. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 48, 269–274.Google Scholar
  11. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Girgus, J., & Seligman, M. (1992). Predictors and consequences of childhood depressive symptoms: A 5-year longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 101, 405–422.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ruini, C., Ottolini, F., Rafanelli, C., Ryff, C. D., & Fava, G. A. (2003a). La validazione italiana delle Psychological Well-being Scale (PWB). Rivista di Psichiatria, 38(3), 117–130.Google Scholar
  13. Ruini, C., Ottolini, F., Rafanelli, C., Tossani, E., Ryff, C. D., & Fava, G. A. (2003b). The relationship of psychological well-being to distress and personality. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 72, 268–275.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141–166.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Exploration on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57(6), 1069–1083.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ryff, C. D., & Keyes, C. L. M. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 719–727.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sapin, C., Simeoni, M. C., El Khammar, M., Antoniotti, S., & Auquier, P. (2005). Reliability and validity of the VSP-A, a health-related quality of life instrument for ill and healthy adolescents. Journal of Adolescents Health, 36, 327–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Simeoni, M. C., Auquier, P., Antoniotti, S., Sapin, C., & San Marco, J. L. (2000). Validation of a French health-related quality of life instrument for adolescents: The VSP-A. Quality of Life Research, 9, 393–440.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Spence, S. H. (2001). Prevention strategies. In M. W. Vasey & M. R. Dadds (Eds.), The developmental psychopathology of anxiety. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Steca, P., Ryff, C. D., D’Alessandro, S., & Delle Fratte, A. (2002). Il benessere psicologico: Differenze di genere e di età nel contesto italiano. Psicologia della Salute, 2, 121–138.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dalila Visani
    • 1
  • Elisa Albieri
    • 1
  • Emanuela Offidani
    • 1
  • Fedra Ottolini
    • 1
  • Elena Tomba
    • 1
  • Chiara Ruini
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

Personalised recommendations