Jan 12, 2016 03:02 AM EST
Anxiety and depression are the two leading mental conditions that affect countless female Americans each year. These particular illnesses have various origins, therefore making it very difficult to pinpoint the possible roots for each affected individual. However, a recently released study showed that the long-debated pay gap between men and women may also play a factor on why women are acquiring these conditions.
A team of researchers from the Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health has conducted a study in order to figure out whether the wage gap between the two genders plays a key role in why females are getting more depressed than men. They started the test by doing a survey of 22,581 currently working adults whose age ranges from 30 to 65. They've compared the data to look for matching pairs of men and women who were equivalent when it comes to their qualifications and education. The team of scientists found about 9,000 pairs where men have out-earned women. They also discovered that the women in this group have double the chances of acquiring depression in their lifetime compared to those few that are not, and they are also four times likelier to develop a generalized anxiety disorder.
According to Jonathan Platt, a PhD student in Epidemiology and lead author of the paper, published in Social Science and Medicine, the results of their study showed that some roots of depression and anxiety among women can be traced back to the cultural belief that men are far more superior than women when it comes to work and life in general. He added that if females have taken the wage difference to the heart and not as the structural discrimination that the world got used to, then they are most likely at risk of acquiring depression and anxiety.
However, Katherine Keyes, assistant professor of Epidemiology and senior author, stated that certain policies must be taken other than terminating gender inequality in order to diminish the growing effect of wage gap difference on women. Keyes also suggested that imposing paid parental leave, flexible work schedules and affordable childcare might ease some of the burden that female workers are experiencing.