CitationMeymandi, Margaret (2022). SEX ASSIGNED AT BIRTH AND GENDER EXPRESSION: THEIR IMPLICATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES FOR DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS AND TENDENCY TO SEEK HELP.
AbstractIn this study, I expand upon existing literature on the relationship that exists between gender and mental health, both in terms of symptom frequency and tendency to seek help. By evaluating gender based on one’s perceived gender expression, this study more distinctly seperates sex assigned at birth from gender and allows them to be analyzed individually and in conjunction. To explore the interaction of gender and mental health symptoms and outcomes, data from Wave V of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) was analyzed using linear and logistic regressions. Respondents who indicated male sex assigned at birth were found to have lower frequency of depressive symptoms and decreased
frequency of seeking help. Those with masculine gender expression were less likely to seek mental health treatment, whereas those with neutral gender expression were found to have higher frequency of symptoms of depression. Those whose sex assigned at birth and gender expression do not align according to social norms were found to have higher frequency of depressive
symptoms, most notably, females with masculine gender expression indicated higher frequency of depressive symptoms. Lastly, females regardless of their gender expression were more likely to seek mental health treatment compared to their counterparts. These results demonstrate the growing need for gender-inclusive research, particularly in the field of mental health symptoms and outcomes. As suicide rates and mental health adversities continue to climb as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, these patterns should continue to be investigated. Future work may include smaller, qualitative studies to better understand individual experiences, quanitative studies that include a more gender-inclusive dataset, and investigations into other mental health outcomes or avenues of seeking help.