Gender Differences in Mental Well-Being: a Decomposition Analysis

Research paper by David Madden

Indexed on: 05 Jan '10Published on: 05 Jan '10Published in: Social Indicators Research


The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) is frequently used as a measure of mental well-being. A consistent pattern across countries is that women report lower levels of mental well-being, as measured by the GHQ. This paper applies decomposition techniques to Irish data for 1994 and 2000 to examine the factors lying behind the gender differences in GHQ score. For both 1994 and 2000 about two-thirds of the raw difference is accounted for by differences in characteristics, with employment status the single most important factor.