The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night—she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question—“Is this all?”
—Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique
Betty Friedan’s seminal work about social and psychological issues facing some women in the middle of the twentieth century opened with the question she saw as plaguing suburban wives: Is this all? During Friedan’s time, college graduation rates for women were actually dropping compared to the previous generation as postwar World War II economic prosperity led many women to abandon career aspirations in favor of raising families. The Feminine Mystique tells the story of a particular group of women, and as critics are correct to point out, it does not speak for the situation of many women of color and women who were not privileged socioeconomically. It did, however, expose the way that social and psychological factors came together to create gender differences in psychological wellbeing.
In the 21st century, gender differences in morbidity and mortality related to psychological issues still exist. Your course text highlights gender differences in depression, eating disorders, and suicide, but differences exist regarding other issues as well. Antisocial and avoidant personality disorders are more common in men, while borderline and histrionic personality disorders are more often seen in women. While there is some biological evidence for these differences, there is a greater amount of evidence that supports the influence of psychosocial factors related to gender socialization and gender roles themselves.
For this Discussion, you will examine gender differences related to and biopsychosocial causes of a particular psychological issue.
Post a description of the issue you selected; identify any biopsychosocial risk factors; and discuss how gender influences prevalence rates, diagnosis, and treatment.
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