Exploring Differences Between Community-Based Women and Men with a History of Mental Illness
Issues in Mental Health Nursing
Relatively little is understood concerning the role of gender in persons with a history of mental illness residing in the community. This paper aims to explore gender's effect using data from the Community Research University Alliance project entitled, Mental Health and Housing. The primary five-year longitudinal study examined housing situations for psychiatric consumer/survivors in a mid-size, central Canadian region in an effort to improve the number and quality of appropriate housing situations. Data from 887 subjects in the original research underwent secondary analysis with particular relevance to differences between gender and indicators of health status including psychiatric history, levels of functioning, personal strengths and resources, and illness severity. Results of the secondary analysis found male and female differences that corroborated previous research. More women are housed than men, more women with mental illness were coupled than men, men have fewer social supports, and men have more substance abuse issues than women. These findings suggest health services within the community must consider these sex differences if they wish to properly assist Canadian individuals diagnosed with mental illnesses.