Observing Gender Differences in Mental Disorders Among Children
In both urban and rural areas, we have observed that boys are more likely to have behavioral disorders than girls. This gender difference is consistent with what we have seen in our work at counseling and psycho-hygiene dispensaries for children and youth. However, the cause of this difference is not yet clear.
Three Theoretical Explanations for the Gender Difference
There are three potential explanations for the gender difference in mental disorders:
- Boys are naturally more predisposed to mental disorders, particularly due to negative psychological influences such as psychological stress
- Male children are more exposed to negative environmental factors that can affect their personality development compared to females
- Boys have a stronger disposition for mental disorders and are more exposed to negative environmental factors, leading to an increased likelihood of developing mental disorders
Evidence for Greater Mental Sensitivity in Males
While there is no conclusive evidence for any of these settings, there are facts that support the notion that males have lower biological resistance than females. For example, male embryos have a higher rate of miscarriage, and male infants have a higher mortality rate. Additionally, men are more likely to suffer from degenerative diseases.
There is no reason to assume that this lower life resistance does not extend to mental functions. Observations from everyday practice also support this idea. For example, boys are more likely to have neurotic disorders and exhibit more intense and gross forms of behavioral disorders. Boys are also more likely to be delinquent and suffer from alcoholism or psychosis.
Examples of Greater Mental Sensitivity in Male Children and Youth
According to research cited in the “Handbook of Child Psychology” by L. Carmichael, behavioral disorders are more common in boys than girls. However, the criteria for diagnosing mental disorders may be skewed towards more passive behaviors in girls, such as timidity or withdrawal, rather than active forms of psychological disturbance.
Comparing Symptomatic Behaviors of Boys and Girls
While girls may be diagnosed with different forms of mental disorders than boys, it does not mean that they are necessarily less mentally resilient. Aggressive behavior is more commonly seen in boys than girls, and it is a clear sign of psychological distress.
The Influence of Environment on the Gender Difference
Authors such as Simpson, Mott, Hayward, and Meltzer argue that there are significant differences in how educators treat male and female children, with females receiving better treatment on average. Our experiences in counseling centers also support this belief, with boys often experiencing extreme forms of educational mistakes such as excessive indulgence or excessive strictness.
Educators and Their Treatment of Children by Gender
The prevailing opinion among authors is that there are significant differences in the treatment of male and female children, with educators more likely to treat females properly. This belief is represented by L. M. Terman and L. E. Tyler in Carmichael’s handbook.
Counseling and Dispensaries for Psycho-Hygiene of Children and Youth
Our experiences in counseling centers for psycho-hygiene of children and youth suggest that boys are more likely to experience gross forms of educational mistakes, leading to a higher likelihood of mental disorders. However, it is important to note that these observations are based on a selected group of children and may not apply to the entire population.
Conclusion: Limitations of Observations and Need for Further Research
While our observations suggest that there is a gender difference in mental disorders among children, the cause of this difference is not yet clear. Further research is needed to determine the factors contributing to the gender difference and how best to address them.