• P-ISSN 0974-6846 E-ISSN 0974-5645

Indian Journal of Science and Technology


Indian Journal of Science and Technology

Year: 2015, Volume: 8, Issue: Supplementary 7, Pages: 1-5

Original Article

Gender Disparities in the Limited Access to Health Care and the Impact Thereof on Mental Health


One of the major reasons as to why Korean adults fail to seek medical attention is their concerns with medical expenditure. However, delayed medical treatment leads to more serious problems, contributing towards individuals’ limited ability to perform daily functions, which could also result in psychological distress, frustration, and care burden. In our previous study, we learned that the lower the income, the more frequently married women are likely to experience frustration and problems with daily function, due to unmet medical needs, and in turn, experience depression and anxiety issues. In the current study, the focus was on exploring possible gender disparities with regard to the impact of limited health care on mental health. This hypothesis was based on the fact that gender differences are often alluded to in health-care seeking behaviors. This study examined whether or not our model, which is based on data from female respondents, fits the data from male respondents. Based on a secondary analysis of the Korea Health Panel (KHP) survey’s 2011 data, this study tested a Structural Equation Model (SEM) involving income, problems with daily function, depression and anxiety experiences, which were relevant to Korean women, while controlling for subjects’ education level. The sample included 3,340 married men between the ages of 25 and 65 years. The results showed that our previous model, which was based on the data obtained from women, did not fit well with the male respondents’ data. However, upon taking further steps to identify the best fitting model, the exclusion of the frustration factor, resulting from unmet medical needs, led to a better fit [(Model χ² (6 )= 24.877, p < .01, CMIN/df = 4.146, CFI = .995, RMSEA = .031)]. This means that, the lower the income, the more likely (or frequently) married men are to experience daily functional issues associated with unmet medical needs, which in turn, directly affects their subjective depression and/or anxiety. Similar to the study on women, we suggest that the Korean government actively address low-income families’ (including both men and women) ability to keep up with their medical needs, to further prevent the deterioration of their mental health.
Keywords: Gender Differences, Health, Income, Mental Health


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