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J Nurs Res. 2012 Jun;20(2):90-8. doi: 10.1097/jnr.0b013e318257b57b.

Gender-related differences in the human rights needs of patients with mental illness.

Author information

  • 1Department of Nursing, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Deemed University, Bangalore, India. pvijayalakshmireddy@gmail.com



Individuals with mental illness commonly experience human rights violations while seeking to meet their basic needs. There is lack of research in developing countries on gender-related differences in human rights needs.


This study investigated gender differences in perceived human rights needs at the family and community levels in individuals with mental illness in India.


This descriptive study surveyed 100 asymptomatic individuals with mental illness at a tertiary care center. Subject selection employed a random sampling method. Data were collected using face-to-face interviews based on a structured needs assessment questionnaire. Data were analyzed and interpreted using descriptive and inferential statistics.


Subjects enjoyed a satisfactory level of fulfillment in the physical dimension of human rights needs, which included food, housing, and clothing. Men expressed lower satisfaction than women with perceived human rights needs fulfillment in the emotional dimension. This included fear of family members (χ = 9.419, p < .024) and being called derogatory names (χ = 8.661, p < .034). Women expressed lower satisfaction than men with perceived human rights needs fulfillment in social and ethical dimensions. The former included freedom to leave the home (χ = 11.277, p < .010), and the latter included sexual abuse by family members (χ = 9.491, p < .019). Men felt more discriminated than women due to perceptions of mental illness in the community domain (χ = 10.197, p < .037).


This study suggests that family members and communities need to be educated regarding the human rights needs of people with mental illness and that legislation must be strengthened to meet the human rights needs of this disadvantaged population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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