Psychological complaints in girls and older women

13/10/2015 15:00

In 2014, more than 1 in 10 Dutch people aged 12 and up suffered from  psychological complaints, with women suffering complaints more frequently than men. In particular girls between 16 and 20 and women aged  65 and up felt gloomy or depressed more frequently than their male counterparts. The percentage of Dutch people with psychological complaints has been stable for years, according to Statistics Netherlands’ Mental Health Inventory.

Women have more psychological complaints 

In 2014, 14 percent of women reported mental health problems, often including feelings of depression or elevated anxiety. The rate of men reporting such problems was lower, namely 9 percent. It is a known fact that relatively more mental health problems are found in women. This is also reflected in the number of treatment courses within the Dutch specialised mental health care system (GGZ). There is no precise explanation for the fact that women have more psychological problems.

Percentage of people having psychological complaints, by marital status and sex, 2014

Girls and older women suffer more psychological complaints

The state of mental health is best among Dutch teenagers between 12 and 16, with only 1 in 20 reporting psychological complaints. The ratio is much higher in the age group 16- to 19-year-olds, particularly among girls. In the latter age category, the difference between the two sexes is greatest:  over twice as many girls suffer from psychological complaints as boys.
The difference among men and women is also significant in the elder group. Among men aged 75 and up, for example,  9 percent indicated having psychological complaints, against 17 percent of the women. The difference is due in part to the fact that more older women than older men are left behind when their  life partner dies . Singles and especially people who have lost their partner are significantly less happy and satisfied, and suffer more psychological complaints than people in a relationship.
Even when taking into account the large number of widowed women of 75 and older, however, they have more symptoms of depression and anxiety than men of the same age group.

Twice as many psychological complaints among divorced and widowed people

Widows and widowers were found to have poorer mental health , and the same applied to people who lost their partner in a divorce. Among those who were divorced or widowed, twice as many people reported symptoms of depression, anxiety or distress compared to married people. 

Percentage of people with psychological complaints, by age and sex, 2014