LabFam seminar series: Who benefits from an increase in gender equality? Depressive symptoms among men and women in 28 European countries
Speaker: Małgorzata Mikucka, Center for Demographic Research, Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) MZES, Mannheim University (Germany)
Previous research suggested that gender equality correlates with depressive symptoms, but the results were not conclusive. This analysis adds to the debate by analyzing the correlates of changes of country-level gender equality over time instead of focusing on cross-country differences. I tested whether an increase in gender equality correlated with fewer depressive symptoms among men and women, and whether the change experienced by women was more positive than the change experienced by men. The analysis used the European Social Survey data for 28 countries (2006-2014, N = 129,460 individuals) and multilevel regression model. At the macro level I considered four different measures of gender equality. The results showed that an increase in gender equality correlated with fewer depressive symptoms. However, contrary to expectations, the effect was statistically significant only among men. In other words, an increase in gender equality was related to a wider (and not narrower) gender gap in depression. This result was robust across different population segments and for various dimensions of gender equality. This suggests that future research should pay more attention to the benefits that men, but not women, derive from gender equality.
About the speaker: Małgorzata Mikucka is a sociologist interested in how families are changing in contemporary societies and how social connections and inequalities affect people’s subjective well-being and health. Her research interests focus around subjective well-being and health in relation to partnership and parenthood, social support, and employment. She is also interested in methodology of social research: she worked on cross-country comparability of employment status of parental leave beneficiaries, on comparability of subjective well-being measures between web and telephone surveys, and on the effects of duplicate records in survey data for results of regression estimates.