AbstractSchizophrenia is a very serious mental disorder that affectsmany people today. In fact, thousands of people are diagnosed withschizophrenia every year. This severe disorder is prevalent among differentgroups today, with gender being a main one.
In order to determine if thisdifference is the cause of gender equality and mistreatment, various factorsrelated to these ideas were compared to the overall female to male ratios ofpatients who have schizophrenia in multiple countries. It was ultimatelydetermined from given data and statistics that schizophrenia is not dependenton the environment or socio-economic factors of the patient. Instead, biologicalmodels are the main explanation for why there is a gender gap for those arediagnosed with the mental illness. These biological factors account for notonly genetic differences but also hormonal changes and brain function andstructures. Introduction Researchhas shown that there is a gender difference in the prevalence of schizophreniaamong numerous countries, but more specifically in males. It has been suggestedthat this distinct gap can be the cause of genetics as well as the surroundingenvironment.
In terms of environment, gender inequality can play a big rolebecause the unfair treatment of males and females can have an internal effect.However, there is more research to support the idea that biological differencesis the main cause of this gap.Today, schizophrenia is known asevere mental disorder that affects how numerous people think and behave today.Although not as common as others, this disorder can cause not only a reducedamount of emotions but also delusions and hallucinations for those who arediagnosed with it (“Schizophrenia,” 2016).
Males are much more likely to sufferfrom schizophrenia, and they are prone the symptoms in earlier ages than womenas well. This discrepancy can be explained by biological factors that includebrain structure, such as the inferior parietal lobule of the cerebral cortex(“Why Schizophrenia Hits,” 2000), and hormone release, like estrogen thatproduces secondary sex characteristics for females (“Gender Differences,”2005). Other current explanations relate either to biology or genetics ratherthan socio-economic factors.The purpose of this project was toexamine the relationship between gender inequality and the prevalence ofschizophrenia around the world. Through research and data collecting, wehypothesized that it is not gender inequality, but biological and geneticdifferences that are the main causes of this gap.
MethodThe main variables in this study were women emancipators(CGI), average WVS indicators (WVS), female activity rate (FAR), and women’spolitical empowerment (WPE). These variables related to gender inequality, andthey mainly had to do with the freedom of women and their support of inclusiverights. A higher value for these variables therefore meant that women were in abetter standing in their respective societies. Meanwhile, these numbers werecompared to the female and male ratios of those who were diagnosed withschizophrenia. The data for gender prevalence was provided by the World HealthOrganization, a group that explored “the global burden of schizophrenia” in theyear 2000 (Ayuso-Mateos, 2015). An online report of the PDF was found after”schizophrenia prevalence by country” was searched on the internet. This reportlisted the prevalence percentage of both men and women diagnosed withschizophrenia in several countries including Spain, Iceland, Canada, UnitedStates, New Zealand, and Mexico. In order to find the female to male ratio, theprevalence percentage of females with schizophrenia was divided by that of themales.
This particular ratio was compared to the CGI, FAR, and WPE values ofeach country. The WVS values were not compared because there were missing datapoints. Separate graphs were created to visually show the correlations betweengender inequality and those who have schizophrenia (refer to tables and figuressection). ResultsThe gender prevalence of schizophrenia in the six countriesvaried with one another. Although the numbers ranged, the average prevalencepercentage of schizophrenic men is higher than that of women, creating a femaleto male ratio of 0.
90 (refer to table 1). When comparing the female to maleratio with women emancipation (CGI), female activity rate (FAR), and women’spolitical empowerment (WPE), very small correlations were seen. All three hadvery scattered points among their respective graphs that could not all fitalong 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 notshow a strong relationship.
The CGI and FAR variables especially displayed weakcorrelations. As seen with graph 1, the CGI graph had an R2 value of0.27225. 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 correlationthan the others at 0.49295. Although the R2 value for WPE was significantly higher, itstill was not high enough to significantly display a relationship between thetwo variables. Discussion Theresearch findings prove that there is no distinct relationship between genderinequality and the gender prevalence of schizophrenia. The data that comparesthe female and male ratios to numerous variables related to gender inequalitydisplays no strong correlation that could reject the hypothesis. Therefore, thehypothesis of this study is verified.
It is not the outside environment, butbiological factors that are the main causes of the gender gap for those diagnosedwith schizophrenia. Althoughthe gender differences can be explained through biology, the research showsthat gender inequality can still play a small role. The statistics given fromthe six countries show a slight correlation, but not enough to be a primarycause of this gender gap. Outside research states that psychosocial factorsrelating to the environment can still play a side role in schizophreniaprevalence around the world (“Schizophrenia,” 2016). In the meantime,biological factors such as genetic differences, issues at birth, chemicalimbalances, and different brain chemistry and structures are the leadingexplanations to the gender gap of schizophrenia. The data presented in thisstudy supports this idea thoroughly as well. There is astatistical difference between women and men who have schizophrenia because ofspecificities within the brain. The fact that more men are diagnosed with thismental illness can be justified by the sizes of lobules in their brains.
Morespecifically, the cerebral cortex of the brain has an inferior parietal lobuleon both the left and right sides. These lobules are mainly asymmetrical forschizophrenic men, a trait not commonly seen with women (“Why SchizophreniaHits,” 2000). Additionally, women are diagnosed with schizophrenia in laterages because estrogen release during puberty has protective effects against themental illness. This hormone, in particular, can block out the psychoticsymptoms of schizophrenia, which is another reason why a significant number ofmen are diagnosed in earlier ages (“Gender Differences,” 2005).
Otherbiological explanations are present, such as complications during birth,malnutrition, or viral exposures (“Schizophrenia,” 2016). However, these riskfactors are possible for all genders and do not cause much of a distinction forthe gender gap. The main biological explanations for differences are the onesthat were previously mentioned. Meanwhile, it has also been found that chemicalimbalances of the brain’s neurotransmitters can cause schizophrenia, a factorthat can vary greatly with gender as well (“Schizophrenia,” 2016). Through allof these causes, it is evident that biology and genetics are the centralexplanations for the schizophrenia gender gap. This study onlyaccounted for six countries around the world. In the future, it would be usefulto compare gender inequality variables to female and male ratios of even morecountries.
Having statistics from numerous countries would provide not onlymore accurate data but also expanded research on this topic. Because age hasalso been found to to have an effect on the gender prevalence of schizophrenia,research should be done to compare the ages of different schizophrenic femalesand males. Current studies may have not accounted for the ages of thosediagnosed with this mental illness, so it is important this specific criteriais accounted for in order to produce the most factual data. Schizophreniais one of the most severe mental disorders known today.
The gender differenceof schizophrenia is significant and should overall be explored more in terms ofthe various biological factors that can explain this gap. Whether theseexplanations are related to genetics, chemical imbalances, hormones, or brainfunctions, they need to be researched and understood in both the scientific andpsychological world.