Introduction We examined gender differences in the positive mental health (PMH) status, which encompasses positive states of minds and positive functioning, among young people of Kerala state, India.
Methods Using a scale development and validation process with 323 randomly selected subjects, we constructed and validated a scale for measuring PMH. This was administered to the study sample (453; 230 males, 223 females) in the age group of 18–24.
Results Males scored higher than females in the scale (males, M=64.878, SD=10.695, and females M=58.26, SD=13.80; t (451)=5.70, p≤0.01). Of the four domains of PMH, three showed significantly higher scores in males (own potential: male-M=21.34, SD=5.38; female-M=19.848, SD=5.784; coping abilities: male-M=13.130, SD=4.274; female-M=10.910, SD=3.969; productivity: male-M=15.830, SD=4.009; female=13.475, SD=5.838). Among subjects in the highest quartile of the score, 62.8% are males and 37.2% are females, out of a total of 113 (24.9% of the total population).
Conclusion We found a perceptibly higher PMH score for men compared to women in this population. The role that parenting (perceived parenting style, gender preferences of the parents and single parenting) and traditional role stereotypes play, may be the strong factors deciding this difference in the scores.
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