School Papers

The stereotypes set by society, being constantly told

The question that traverses time: Men or Women? Depression is a subject that many avoid or dislike to address and is indiscriminate, affecting both men and women alike. However, there are many negative stereotypes and stigmas that surround this topic, making it even harder to address than it already is. Feelings are an unpredictable subject, being unable to pin down because they are constantly changing, and do not have any outward defining features like physical illnesses or injuries do. Different things lead to different responses from different people, and feelings are easily covered up or hidden within. Men are specifically negatively impacted by the standards and stereotypes set by society, being constantly told that they should “be a man” or “man up” and suppress their emotions as much as possible, but how does this stigma impact society? The following two articles discussed will highlight the stereotypes and stigmas related to discrimination and depression for both men and women.”Stigma in Male Depression and Suicide: A Canadian Sex Comparison Study”, one of the two articles, addresses how fewer men than women are formally diagnosed with depression, and how it is thought to be that it is due to men being unwilling to or are reluctant to speak up about what they are feeling. Men most likely do not recognize or refuse to recognize depression for what it is because they relate it to “weakness of character” (Oliffe, 2016) and are afraid of being judged as weak, because men are portrayed as strong both physically and mentally by society. In this article, 901 Canadian participants were given an eight minute survey related to depression to complete – this survey was the “first in Canada to examine stigma (social and self) toward men with depression and men who suicide” (Oliffe, 2016). All participants had to be over the age of 18, it was anonymous, and there were no efforts made to balance the ages (ranged from 18 to 83 years of age) and gender of the respondents. It had two variants, “respondents without direct personal experience of depression or suicide” (Oliffe, 2016) and “respondents who had direct personal experience with depression or suicide” (Oliffe, 2016); there were varying amounts of statements, each accompanied by a five-point Likert scale – which consisted of the following options: strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree – as a response. Consisting of two parts, the first variant of the survey included a shorter first section of nine statements, using “The Depression Stigma Scale (DSS) to assess social stigma” (Oliffe, 2016), and a longer second section of 16 statements, using the “Stigma of Suicide Scale (SOSS) to assess social stigma related to men’s suicide” (Oliffe, 2016). For the second variant of the survey, there was only one section of 12 statements, using the “Self Stigma of Depression Scale (SSDS)” (Oliffe, 2016), which was identical to the SOSS, but for those who had experience with depression or suicide instead of those who did not. “Ethnic and Gender Differences in the Association Between Discrimination and Depressive Symptoms Among Five Immigrant Groups”, the second of the two articles, addresses how discrimination leads to depression for both male and female immigrants to Canada. Data was collected from the Toronto Study of Settlement and Health (TSSH), a study of first-generation immigrants living in Toronto, to narrow down the immigrant groups to five that were most prone to discrimination – these were the Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Iranian, Korean, and Irish. In this article, 900 participants were interviewed with questions related to discrimination and depression. Ages were not specifically targeted, but an attempt at a balanced amount of young, old, newer immigrants, and older immigrants that have been living in Canada for over 10 years was made. There were two parts, the first part being more interview based while the second was more survey based. Part one consisted of 16 statements for the Health outcome, using the “Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D)” (Kim & Noh, 2014), and part two consisted of 10 statements regarding Everyday Discrimination to “identify unfair treatment toward first generation immigrants” (Kim & Noh, 2014). Each statement in part two was accompanied by a six-point scale as the response – zero being never, 5 being almost every day. The final results of which immigrant group suffers from the most discrimination is as follows (from most to least): Ethiopians, Koreans, Iranians, Vietnamese, and Irish.Of the two articles outlined, the largest similarities were the fact that they both used surveys to collect data, which is microsociology – quantitative methods over qualitative methods. However, the second article used more than just a survey, it also included an interview, which is more qualitative than quantitative because it is more detail oriented than just statistics and numbers. The first article revealed that men replied with more stereotypical views of women than women did of men, and that a third of respondents agreed with the statement “men with depression are unpredictable” (Oliffe, 2016), which is a surprise because “previous studies have reported a similar thing” (Oliffe, 2016). While the first article suggested that more men may suffer from depression than women but are not formally reported, the second suggests almost the exact opposite: “exposure theory proposes that women, encountering a greater number of stressors linked to their multiple roles, are more likely than men to develop psychological distress” (Kim & Noh, 2014). This is ironic because the article also states that female immigrants are less likely than males to report discrimination, which may be because many women work at home, resulting in less encounters with discrimination, although it is “found that women more than men were significantly correlated with the harmful effects of discrimination on depressive symptoms” (Kim & Noh, 2014). What the two articles also shared is the lack of any determination to balance the amount of respondents’ ages and gender, which makes the results not quite as trustworthy as they could have been.Due to the fact that feelings are extremely volatile, it is difficult to accurately determine whether or not men are more or less likely than women to suffer from depression. Not only that, any surveys or questions asked to respondents may not be accurate either because humans are capable of hiding feelings and lying. Stereotypes and stigmas that society imposes on men and women alike may have once been based on truth, but most of them are now restraints and horribly inaccurate, forcing men to suppress their feelings to be more like a “man”, and imposing the belief that some women are lying about their feelings to gain attention. There are many different kinds of people and personalities in the world, and it should be normal for people to be more accepting and welcoming of differences, for it would be boring if everyone and everything was the same, wouldn’t it?

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