Gender roles and geographic locations as predictors of emotional distress in Australian women

Bramston, Paul and Rogers-Clark, Cathy and Hegney, Desley and Bishop, Janet (2000) Gender roles and geographic locations as predictors of emotional distress in Australian women. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 8 (3). pp. 154-160. ISSN 1038-5282


This paper examines the emotional distress of women in urban, rural and remote areas of Queensland. A randomised telephone survey of 394 women found that geographical location was not significantly related to perceptions of life quality or distress. Contrary to expectation, urbanisation and isolation were not significant predictors of mental health and factors other than geographical location appear more influential in determining people’s emotional wellbeing. One such factor, the gender role that women perceive themselves as fulfilling, was examined in this study and found to be significantly related to emotional distress. Women who saw their role as being submissive, dependent, gentle and timid reported significantly higher rates of distress and women perceiving themselves as bossy, rude and superior reported higher stress, irrespective of where they lived. Scores for the positive gender role of being sensitive, emotional and responsible grew significantly higher as the respondents became more rural/remote. Conversely, scores in the bossy, rude and superior domain were significantly higher in urban areas. This paper discusses the limitations of health research using global urban/rural classification schemes based on size of town or distance from major centres. There is mounting evidence that geographically based classification schemes are essentially minimalist and that more complex grouping variables such as gender role need to be identified.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2007 11:47
Last Modified: 05 May 2016 05:16
Uncontrolled Keywords: emotional distress; rural/remote; women
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160804 Rural Sociology
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170105 Gender Psychology
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920507 Women's Health
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1046/j.1440-1584.2000.00272.x

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