Gender

Gender can influence illness in a variety of ways. First, it may exclusively determine whether an individual is at risk for a disorder (e.g., as in premenstrual dysphoric disor­ der). Second, gender may moderate the overall risk for development of a disorder as shown by marked gender differences in the prevalence and incidence rates for selected mental disorders. Third, gender may influence the likelihood that particular symptoms of a disorder are experienced by an individual. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is an example of a disorder with differences in presentation that are most commonly expe­ rienced by boys or girls. Gender likely has other effects on the experience of a disorder that are indirectly relevant to psychiatric diagnosis. It may be that certain symptoms are more readily endorsed by men or women, and that this contributes to differences in service pro­ vision (e.g., women may be more likely to recognize a depressive, bipolar, or anxiety dis­ order and endorse a more comprehensive list of symptoms than men).

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