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Keywords:

  • gender-sensitive;
  • positive mental health;
  • women's mental health

Aims and objectives

To develop a gender-sensitive measure of women's mental health and to evaluate the measure's psychometric properties.

Background

Mental health problems are a leading global burden of disease, and gender differences in the prevalence of these problems are well documented. Improving mental health is as important as resolving mental health problems. Although many mental health scales have been developed, few measure women's positive mental health from a gender perspective.

Design

Instrument development and psychometric evaluation were used.

Methods

First, a new mental health scale (Women's Mental Health Scale) grounded in women's subjective experiences was formulated from the narratives of four female focus groups (= 23). The new scale was evaluated using principal component analysis and internal consistency reliability in a sample of female participants (= 106). Next, the Women's Mental Health Scale, the Chinese version of Beck Depression Inventory-II and Social Adjustment Scale Self-Report were used in a survey of female undergraduate students (= 163) for examining the concurrent criterion-related validity. Finally, gender differences were examined by assessing the discriminated validity of the Women's Mental Health Scale in a sample of male and female undergraduate students (= 357). All participants were recruited from communities and universities in middle and south Taiwan.

Results

A 50-item Women's Mental Health Scale with four concepts of self, interpersonal, family and social domains was developed. It revealed that the Women's Mental Health Scale had acceptable psychometric properties. There was a significant negative correlation between scores of the Women's Mental Health Scale and the Chinese version of Beck Depression Inventory-II and a significant positive correlation between scores of the Women's Mental Health Scale and Social Adjustment Scale Self-Report. There were significant gender differences in the family domain and social domain. Women reported greater mental health in the family domain and social domain than men.

Conclusions

The Women's Mental Health Scale is a promising gender-sensitive tool to measure women's mental health.

Relevance to clinical practice

The Women's Mental Health Scale appears to be a gender-sensitive measure to assess the positive mental health potentials among women population.