Abstract symptoms in earlier ages than women as

Abstract

Schizophrenia is a very serious mental disorder that affects
many people today. In fact, thousands of people are diagnosed with
schizophrenia every year. This severe disorder is prevalent among different
groups today, with gender being a main one. In order to determine if this
difference is the cause of gender equality and mistreatment, various factors
related to these ideas were compared to the overall female to male ratios of
patients who have schizophrenia in multiple countries. It was ultimately
determined from given data and statistics that schizophrenia is not dependent
on the environment or socio-economic factors of the patient. Instead, biological
models are the main explanation for why there is a gender gap for those are
diagnosed with the mental illness. These biological factors account for not
only genetic differences but also hormonal changes and brain function and
structures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

            Research
has shown that there is a gender difference in the prevalence of schizophrenia
among numerous countries, but more specifically in males. It has been suggested
that this distinct gap can be the cause of genetics as well as the surrounding
environment. In terms of environment, gender inequality can play a big role
because the unfair treatment of males and females can have an internal effect.

However, there is more research to support the idea that biological differences
is the main cause of this gap.

Today, schizophrenia is known a
severe mental disorder that affects how numerous people think and behave today.

Although not as common as others, this disorder can cause not only a reduced
amount of emotions but also delusions and hallucinations for those who are
diagnosed with it (“Schizophrenia,” 2016). Males are much more likely to suffer
from schizophrenia, and they are prone the symptoms in earlier ages than women
as well. This discrepancy can be explained by biological factors that include
brain structure, such as the inferior parietal lobule of the cerebral cortex
(“Why Schizophrenia Hits,” 2000), and hormone release, like estrogen that
produces secondary sex characteristics for females (“Gender Differences,”
2005). Other current explanations relate either to biology or genetics rather
than socio-economic factors.

The purpose of this project was to
examine the relationship between gender inequality and the prevalence of
schizophrenia around the world. Through research and data collecting, we
hypothesized that it is not gender inequality, but biological and genetic
differences that are the main causes of this gap.

 

 

Method

The main variables in this study were women emancipators
(CGI), average WVS indicators (WVS), female activity rate (FAR), and women’s
political empowerment (WPE). These variables related to gender inequality, and
they mainly had to do with the freedom of women and their support of inclusive
rights. A higher value for these variables therefore meant that women were in a
better standing in their respective societies. Meanwhile, these numbers were
compared to the female and male ratios of those who were diagnosed with
schizophrenia. The data for gender prevalence was provided by the World Health
Organization, a group that explored “the global burden of schizophrenia” in the
year 2000 (Ayuso-Mateos, 2015). An online report of the PDF was found after
“schizophrenia prevalence by country” was searched on the internet. This report
listed the prevalence percentage of both men and women diagnosed with
schizophrenia in several countries including Spain, Iceland, Canada, United
States, New Zealand, and Mexico. In order to find the female to male ratio, the
prevalence percentage of females with schizophrenia was divided by that of the
males. This particular ratio was compared to the CGI, FAR, and WPE values of
each country. The WVS values were not compared because there were missing data
points. Separate graphs were created to visually show the correlations between
gender inequality and those who have schizophrenia (refer to tables and figures
section).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results

The gender prevalence of schizophrenia in the six countries
varied with one another. Although the numbers ranged, the average prevalence
percentage of schizophrenic men is higher than that of women, creating a female
to male ratio of 0.90 (refer to table 1). When comparing the female to male
ratio with women emancipation (CGI), female activity rate (FAR), and women’s
political empowerment (WPE), very small correlations were seen. All three had
very scattered points among their respective graphs that could not all fit
along a common trendline or line of best fit. In the meantime, all R2 values,
or correlation coefficient values, proved to be lower than 0.50, which does not
show a strong relationship. The CGI and FAR variables especially displayed weak
correlations. As seen with graph 1, the CGI graph had an R2 value of
0.27225. Graph 2 also shows that female activity rate had the lowest R2  value out of all three at 0.12337. However,
it was interesting to see how the WPE variable had a much stronger correlation
than the others at 0.49295. Although the R2  value for WPE was significantly higher, it
still was not high enough to significantly display a relationship between the
two variables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion

            The
research findings prove that there is no distinct relationship between gender
inequality and the gender prevalence of schizophrenia. The data that compares
the female and male ratios to numerous variables related to gender inequality
displays no strong correlation that could reject the hypothesis. Therefore, the
hypothesis of this study is verified. It is not the outside environment, but
biological factors that are the main causes of the gender gap for those diagnosed
with schizophrenia.

            Although
the gender differences can be explained through biology, the research shows
that gender inequality can still play a small role. The statistics given from
the six countries show a slight correlation, but not enough to be a primary
cause of this gender gap. Outside research states that psychosocial factors
relating to the environment can still play a side role in schizophrenia
prevalence around the world (“Schizophrenia,” 2016). In the meantime,
biological factors such as genetic differences, issues at birth, chemical
imbalances, and different brain chemistry and structures are the leading
explanations to the gender gap of schizophrenia. The data presented in this
study supports this idea thoroughly as well.

            There is a
statistical difference between women and men who have schizophrenia because of
specificities within the brain. The fact that more men are diagnosed with this
mental illness can be justified by the sizes of lobules in their brains. More
specifically, the cerebral cortex of the brain has an inferior parietal lobule
on both the left and right sides. These lobules are mainly asymmetrical for
schizophrenic men, a trait not commonly seen with women (“Why Schizophrenia
Hits,” 2000). Additionally, women are diagnosed with schizophrenia in later
ages because estrogen release during puberty has protective effects against the
mental illness. This hormone, in particular, can block out the psychotic
symptoms of schizophrenia, which is another reason why a significant number of
men are diagnosed in earlier ages (“Gender Differences,” 2005).

            Other
biological explanations are present, such as complications during birth,
malnutrition, or viral exposures (“Schizophrenia,” 2016). However, these risk
factors are possible for all genders and do not cause much of a distinction for
the gender gap. The main biological explanations for differences are the ones
that were previously mentioned. Meanwhile, it has also been found that chemical
imbalances of the brain’s neurotransmitters can cause schizophrenia, a factor
that can vary greatly with gender as well (“Schizophrenia,” 2016). Through all
of these causes, it is evident that biology and genetics are the central
explanations for the schizophrenia gender gap.

            This study only
accounted for six countries around the world. In the future, it would be useful
to compare gender inequality variables to female and male ratios of even more
countries. Having statistics from numerous countries would provide not only
more accurate data but also expanded research on this topic. Because age has
also been found to to have an effect on the gender prevalence of schizophrenia,
research should be done to compare the ages of different schizophrenic females
and males. Current studies may have not accounted for the ages of those
diagnosed with this mental illness, so it is important this specific criteria
is accounted for in order to produce the most factual data.

            Schizophrenia
is one of the most severe mental disorders known today. The gender difference
of schizophrenia is significant and should overall be explored more in terms of
the various biological factors that can explain this gap. Whether these
explanations are related to genetics, chemical imbalances, hormones, or brain
functions, they need to be researched and understood in both the scientific and
psychological world.

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