Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Gender Differences in Health Problems among Kuwait University Undergraduates

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Gender Differences in Health Problems among Kuwait University Undergraduates

Article excerpt

This study examined the health status of Kuwait University undergraduates. The Health Problems Checklist (Schinka, 1989) was administered to determine the prevalence and the gender differences in health problems among 945 subjects (343 males and 602 females). The frequency percentage to test the prevalence rates of variables and t-test analysis were performed using SPSS to test the differences between the means of variables. These were high rates of health problems among males in the variables of dermatology, audio/olfactory, general, endocrine/hematological, genitourinary, neurological and gastrointestinal; while high rates for females were in the variables of genitourinary, dermatology, endocrine/ hematological, neurological, gastrointestinal, cardio/pulmonary heart/lung and orthopedics/ bones. Furthermore, the examination of gender variables showed that males had higher rates in the variables of gastrointestinal and health habits, while females had higher rates in genitourinary, general, endocrine/hematological, and stomach-related health problems.

Keywords: Health Problems Checklist, prevalence of health problems, undergraduates Kuwait University, gender differences.

Health is the first and most important form of wealth. The physical, mental, and social health of an entire population is the nation's fundamental natural resource. If health becomes only the province of the wealthy, that nation has an ominous future. The poor will struggle for equity, and even the wealthy, feeling isolated or disabled or in fear, will stop enjoying their riches.

Health is the essential foundation that supports and nurtures growth, learning, personal well-being, social fulfillment, enrichment of others, economic production, and constructive citizenship (Murray & Evans, 2003: p. 53). We should keep in mind however, that successfully promoting good health has intrinsic values and enabling powers that reach far beyond a single year's budget (Jenkins, 2003: p. 3-4).

Gender analysis in health goes beyond questions of biological differences by providing an understanding of the differences experiences of women and men in economic, social and psychological terms, such as differences in ability to access services, experiences of health care, attitudes to health and disease (e.g., estimation), social structures (e.g., women's role as carers in the home), and aspects of economic and social status (WHO, 2000a: 280).

Gender is a critical determinant of mental health and mental illness. The morbidity associated with mental illness has received substantially more attention than have the gender-specific determinants and mechanisms that promote and protect mental health and foster resilience to stress and adversity (WHO, 2006a).

As more facts are becoming available the insight is growing that "man" or "woman" must be understood in the context of psychological, interpersonal, cultural, social and biological factors that mutually influence each other during a person's life (Scott, 1988).

Gender analysis helps us to identify the kind of inequality that exists in the "gender organization" of a specific community. Although societies are based on traditions and customs, they eventually change over time. Decentralization efforts and Strengthening District Health Systems (SDHS) should ensure gender maintan streaming in all activities towards eliminating differences between the genders. Women are more vulnerable to diseases, particularly sexually transmitted diseases, than are men because of culture and biology (United Nations Population Fund Association, 2000:42-43). Many women suffering from poor health status are found to lack knowledge, information skills, purchasing power, income-generating capacity and access to essential health services (UNPFA). Women suffer more than men from depressive illness which contributes to the global burden of disease (Christopher & Lopez, 1996).

In most health professional schools, students are taught only the biological aspects of patients' problems, and population and behavioral perspectives are rarely considered. …

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