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Aging Ment Health. 2007 May;11(3):301-9.

Gender-specific and gender-sensitive associations with psychological health and morbidity in older age. Baseline findings from a British population survey of ageing.

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  • 1Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences, University College London, London, UK.



To examine gender-specific and gender-sensitive factors associated with psychological health and morbidity.


Face-to-face home interview survey of random sample of 999 people aged 65 and over living in Britain.


A fifth of respondents had symptoms of psychological morbidity. Men with high self-efficacy had over six times the odds of men with lower levels, of scoring as a non-case with the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Women with excellent to good health status had over five times the odds of those in worse health of scoring as a non-case. Self-efficacy and mobility were the strongest independent predictive variables of GHQ score among men; health status and subjective QoL were the strongest, independent predictors among women.


This paper is unique in examining in detail the independent, gender-specific and gender-sensitive predictors of psychological morbidity in a national random sample of older adults. Optimism, self-efficacy, quality of life and mobility were gender-specific predictors, and health status was a gender-sensitive predictor of psychological morbidity. These differences suggest that interventions aiming to improve the mental health outcomes of older people need to be guided by evidence on risk factors by gender.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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