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Depressed or Anxious? Blame the Gender Pay Gap

Topics: Work Culture

Women are 70 percent more likely to suffer from depression than men, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and 83 percent of employed Americans consider this factor to be the number one barrier to workplace success, reports Diversity Woman. Discussions about why women are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety often focus on hormonal fluctuations or coping strategies. Now, new research suggests that part of the problem may actually be financial in nature.

anxiety and depression 

(Photo Credit: Mark Sebastian/Flickr)

A study conducted by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found that women who earn less in their careers than their male counterparts are more likely to suffer from major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Carrie Arnold at The Science of Us explains: 

“Using a subset of data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, which assesses psychiatric conditions as well as basic demographic and occupational information, the researchers compared income data with lifetime depression and anxiety, as well as the occurrence of these disorders in the past year. Women had just under twice the odds of having major depression in the past year, and more than 2.5 times the odds of generalized anxiety compared to men. Over her lifetime, she had 2.43 times the odds of developing major depression and 4.11 times the odds of developing generalized anxiety compared to men.”

The study found that when women made as much or more than their male colleagues, their odds of suffering from depression and anxiety were about the same as men’s. Boom!

The Gender Pay Gap Is Real

PayScale’s report, The Truth About the Gender Pay Gap, shows that even when women have the same experience, education, and skills as men, they earn 97 cents for every dollar a man earns. What’s more, women are more likely than men to suffer a pay penalty for marrying and having children, regardless of whether they actually prioritize their personal life over their professional one.

In fact, the gender pay gap might well be a family gap: single women who don’t have children make the same as single, childless men in the same jobs – again, even if they never choose family over work. 

The gender wage gap isn’t something that will disappear over night, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all do our part to rid the working world of this bias that, not only keeps women from thriving in their careers, but now has proven to negatively affect their emotional and mental state.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you feel you’ve suffered from depression and/or anxiety because of gender discrimination in your career? If so, share your experience with our community on Twitter or leave a comment below.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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An incredibly one-sided and biased report. No, women are no more depressed than men. Men decline to complain about depression and simply end their lives at much higher rate than women do. And, no, the gender wage gap does not make women depressed. But the feminists who distort it tell women it should depress them. Feminists make women depressed. If you can handle it, read: “Salary Secrecy — Discrimination Against Women?” “The Doctrinaire Institute for Women’s Policy Research: A… Read more »

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