The gender gap in adolescent mental health: a cross-national investigation of 566,829 adolescents across 73 countries

Article here.


Girls have worse average mental health than boys across 4 measures of mental health.

The gender gap in mental health is largely ubiquitous cross-culturally.

The gap is most pronounced for psychological distress and life satisfaction.

More gender equal countries have larger gender gaps in mental health.

Gender equality correlates with less psychological distress in boys but more in girls.

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Yes, Matt, you are right. Young males--indeed all males--commit suicide at much higher rates than females do. I am confident that, ultimately, we all want to significantly reduce or even eliminate suicide regardless of the sex of the victims. The issue is far too serious to be swallowed by the rancor of male-vs.-female politics.

I want to make two more general points. First, the article doesn't even mention suicide. That seems odd, but the authors' failure to consider suicide created a blind spot that caused them apparently to overlook men's mental health in any serious way.

Second, articles like this one commit the tired fallacy that places girls and women in the category of hapless "victims," and concludes, again, that female suffering must be greater, in numbers and quality, than male suffering. Authors can repeat that fallacy by entirely ignoring suicide. While I don't want to create competition among the different types and effects of mental illness, I think it's pretty clear that suicide trumps the various other effects of such illness. Nevertheless, if one operates behind biases that entirely ignore male concerns and are determined to show that females are always worse off, then one must ignore the deadly issue of suicide. That's very disappointing.

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