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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 44 (2002) 6, 367 - 375

New research

Gender differences in mental disorders, consequences and service utilisation

M. ten Have, C. Schoemaker, W.A.M. Vollebergh

background Little is known about to what extent the results on gender/sex differences in mental disorders and help seeking behaviour from American and Canadian studies have more general validity to the Netherlands.
aim To determine gender/sex differences in mental disorders, consequences and service utilization among non-institutionalized adults and to compare the results to the American and Canadian studies. method Data were derived from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (nemesis), a prospective cohort study of psychopathology in adults. DSM-III-R diagnoses were based on a standardized psychiatric interview, the Composite International Diagnostic Interview 1.1 (CIDI). Chi squared tests have been used for analysing.
results Women and men do not differ in the one year prevalence and the three years incidence of at least one DSM-III-R disorder. However, sex/gender differences do exist for the different main categories of mental disorders. Women have higher rates of (first time) mood and anxiety disorders. Men have higher rates of (first time) substance use disorders. Women are also more likely to report functional impairments that result from mental problems, and are more likely to use primary care and mental health services - also after adjustment for the presence of mental disorders.
conclusion The sex/gender differences in mental disorders and help seeking behaviour in the Netherlands confirm results from previous American and Canadian studies.

keywords gender differences, mental disorders, service utilization, sex differences