Special Issue "Women's Mental Health: A Framework for Its Assessment, Prevention, and Promotion in Health Care Settings"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Women's Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Carmela Mento
E-Mail Website
Leading Guest Editor
Biomorf Department, University of Messina, Psychiatric Unit Policlinico Hospital, via Consolare Valeria 1, 98122 Messina, Italy
Interests: clinical psychology; psychological assessment in medical setting; psychological assessment in eating disorders and bariatric surgery; mental pain and suicide risk; adolescent mental health; women's mental health; autistim spectrum disorder in adults; psychoanalysis and health care
Dr. Maria Catena Silvestri
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Psychiatric Unit Policlinico Hospital Messina, University of Messina, 1-98122 Messina, Italy
Interests: clinical psychology in medical setting; personality assessment; workplace violence on health professions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last decade, the general consideration of women’s mental disorders has been limited to some attempts aimed at promoting mental health. However, it is important to consider subjective well-being factors connected with cultural, environmental and personality aspects.

According to the World Health Organization, psychological health is the capability of an individual to interact with others in ways that promote subjective well-being. Many factors, such as the roles assigned to women now, social and work context, and personality traits, can act as predisposing conditions in the etiology of psychopathological frame in particular affective disorders.

Furthermore, in the developmental life of a woman, important risk factors can be highlighted such as the postpartum period and pregnancy, where the vulnerability to psychological distress increases in women and couples. Another important risk factor for women is the experience of menopause; in fact, this condition is very complex, and psychological support is necessary for the management of this experience.

In other developmental conditions, such as adolescence, women are exposed to negative emotions, mental pain, or loneliness, and are at major risk of suicide behavior, altered eating habits, and the onset of eating and nutrition disorders.

The psychological assessment and prevention of women’s mental health brings attention to the female condition, which is currently affected by a greater attention to the quality of couple's life as well as important social educational aspects in the prevention and recognition of psychological and physical violence.

Wellbeing promotion in healthcare settings is needed to increase knowledge and promote positive attitudes towards women’s mental health, also in relation to the promotion of training and assistance courses based on gender medicine.

Women’s support frameworks can have an important role in the prevention of mental diseases, especially in relation to sub-threshold conditions that do not reach clinical observations. In addition, treatments need to be sensitive to and reflect gender differences.

Prof. Dr. Carmela Mento
Dr. Maria Catena Silvestri
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • women’s mental health
  • affective disorders
  • eating disorders
  • intimate violence
  • empower and personality
  • gender medicine

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Health-Related Quality of Life of Elderly Women with Fall Experiences
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 7804; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157804 - 23 Jul 2021
Viewed by 486
Abstract
This study aimed to describe the health-related quality of life of elderly women with experience in fall treatment as well as to prepare basic data for the development of interventions to improve the quality of life for this group. The study was based [...] Read more.
This study aimed to describe the health-related quality of life of elderly women with experience in fall treatment as well as to prepare basic data for the development of interventions to improve the quality of life for this group. The study was based on raw data from the 2019 Korea Community Health Survey. Using the SPSS program, the characteristics of the subjects were tested by frequency, percentage, and chi-square test. To establish the impact of fall experience on the health-related quality of life of elderly women, the OR and 95% CI were calculated using multiple logistic regression analysis. Of the 4260 people surveyed, 44.7% of the elderly women said they had a high quality of life, whereas 55.3% of the elderly women said they had a low quality of life. A younger age was associated with a better-rated health-related quality of life. Those who lived in a city and had a high level of education tended to describe a high quality of life. The quality of life was considered high by those who exercised, but low by those who were obese or diabetic. The results of this study can lead to a better understanding of the experiences of elderly women who have experienced falls, and they can be used as basic data for the development of related health programs. Full article
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Article
HAPPY MAMA Project (PART 1). Assessing the Reliability of the Italian Karitane Parenting Confidence Scale (KPCS-IT) and Parental Stress Scale (PSS-IT): A Cross-Sectional Study among Mothers Who Gave Birth in the Last 12 Months
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4066; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084066 - 12 Apr 2021
Viewed by 828
Abstract
The purposes of this study were: (1) to adapt two validated questionnaires used to evaluate maternal confidence (KPCS-IT) and maternal stress (PSS-IT) to the Italian context, in order to (2) measure the stress level and the self-efficacy in an Italian sample of mothers. [...] Read more.
The purposes of this study were: (1) to adapt two validated questionnaires used to evaluate maternal confidence (KPCS-IT) and maternal stress (PSS-IT) to the Italian context, in order to (2) measure the stress level and the self-efficacy in an Italian sample of mothers. The validation process has provided the construction of an online questionnaire. It was administered on a convenience mothers sample with at least a child aged 0–12 months, twice (T0 and T1) with a two day interval. Assessment of instrument stability over time was estimated by applying test–retest reliability between T0 and T1, and the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient. A cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the second aim. Italian mothers with at least one child living at home aged between 0–12 months were recruited. Statistical reliability methods were applied to assess the internal validity of the two questionnaires. PSS-IT was analyzed using univariate and multivariate statistical analyses in order to study the association between KPCS-IT, demographic and maternal characteristics. Statistical significance was established as p < 0.05. The Cronbach’s alpha reported a good level of internal consistency of the questionnaires: PSS-IT alpha = 0.862; KPCS-IT alpha = 0.801. 32% of the mothers declared low maternal confidence and the mean value of PSS-IT was 35.4 (SD = 8). The significant inverse correlation was found between the PSS-IT and the KPCS-IT (coeff = −0.353; p < 0.001): this means that a high level of perceived self-efficacy reduces the maternal stress level. The study identifies that interventions on maternal confidence can be useful to support mothers in the first months after delivery in order to prevent stress risk: the perceived self-efficacy is as a modifiable factor and the results of the study indicate that it significantly reduces the PSS-IT and EPDS scores. In future, more field trials are necessary in order to assess the realistic and feasible interventions on maternal confidence and competence to prevent maternal distress. Full article
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Article
Analysis of Effectiveness of Individual and Group Trauma-Focused Interventions for Female Victims of Intimate Partner Violence
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1952; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041952 - 17 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1316
Abstract
Group psychological programs for intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors would seem particularly useful since they contribute to interrupting women’s isolation and have cost-effectiveness advantage. This study aims to analyze whether the effectiveness of group interventions for female survivors of IPV is equivalent to [...] Read more.
Group psychological programs for intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors would seem particularly useful since they contribute to interrupting women’s isolation and have cost-effectiveness advantage. This study aims to analyze whether the effectiveness of group interventions for female survivors of IPV is equivalent to that of the individual format. A cognitive-behavioral trauma-focused intervention program was applied in eight weekly sessions in Madrid (Spain) to IPV female survivors with significant posttraumatic symptoms that were randomly assigned to the individual (n = 25) or group (n = 28) intervention format. Measures of posttraumatic stress (Severity of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms Scale), depression (Beck Depression Inventory), anxiety (Beck Anxiety Inventory), self-esteem (Rosenberg’s Scale) and social support were analyzed at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and 1-, 3-, 6- and 12-months follow-ups. A total of 28.3% of women dropped out, without significant format differences. Intervention (both formats) had significant improvements with large effect sizes in posttraumatic stress (η2p = 0.56), depression (η2p = 0.45), anxiety (η2p = 0.41) and self-esteem (η2p = 0.26) that maintained in follow-ups (p < 0.001), without significant differences between formats. Both intervention formats had different evolutions for depression and anxiety (p < 0.05), with better effects in the individual format at the first post-test measurements, but the differences tended to disappear over time. Intervention was effective in improving social support, with no significant differences between formats. All in all, both formats showed similar effectiveness. The group format could be an alternative when applying psychological interventions for female IPV survivors, since it would maintain good cost-effectiveness balance, mainly in the long-term. Full article
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Article
Responses to Stress: Investigating the Role of Gender, Social Relationships, and Touch Avoidance in Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 600; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020600 - 12 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1098
Abstract
Stress is a physiological response to internal and external events we call “stressors”. Response to the same daily stressors varies across individuals and seems to be higher for women. A possible explanation for this phenomenon is that women perceive sociality, relationships, and intimacy—important [...] Read more.
Stress is a physiological response to internal and external events we call “stressors”. Response to the same daily stressors varies across individuals and seems to be higher for women. A possible explanation for this phenomenon is that women perceive sociality, relationships, and intimacy—important sources of both stress and wellbeing—differently from how men experience them. In this study, we investigate how gender, attachment, and touch avoidance predict stress responses on a sample of 335 Italians (216 females; age = 35.82 ± 14.32). Moreover, we analyze the network of relationships between these variables through multiple linear regression and exploratory network analysis techniques. The results recontextualize the role of gender in determining stress responses in terms of (lack of) confidence and touch avoidance toward family members; attitudes toward relationships seem to be the main determinants of stress responses. These results have implications for reducing stress in both clinical settings and at a social level. Full article
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Article
Exploring the Gender Difference and Predictors of Perceived Stress among Students Enrolled in Different Medical Programs: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6647; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186647 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1037
Abstract
Female medical students seem to experience higher level of perceived stress. Moreover, there is a lack of research examining perceived stress in students enrolled in different medical programs. We analyzed the association between temperament traits, optimism, self-esteem, and perceived stress of students pursuing [...] Read more.
Female medical students seem to experience higher level of perceived stress. Moreover, there is a lack of research examining perceived stress in students enrolled in different medical programs. We analyzed the association between temperament traits, optimism, self-esteem, and perceived stress of students pursuing a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree and students pursuing a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree. A cross-sectional study was conducted of two cohorts: allopathic medical students (N = 154) and the podiatric medical students (N = 150). Students anonymously completed the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10), Temperament Evaluation of Memphis, Pisa, Paris, and San Diego Auto Questionnaire (TEMPS-A), Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and Life Orientation Test—Revised (LOT-R). We analyzed differences in the two cohort of students and predictors of perceived stress. There were no differences in the overall perception of stress between both cohorts (allopathic medical students: 18.83 ± 0.56; podiatric medical students: 19.3 ± 0.72; p = 0.4419). Women reported higher perceived stress in both programs (allopathic medical students: p = 0.0.038; podiatric medical students: p = 0.0.038). In both allopathic and podiatric medical students, the cyclothymic temperaments and anxious traits were positive predictors while hyperthymic temperaments and optimism traits were negative predictors of perceived stress. The level of perceived stress experienced by students pursuing different doctoral degrees in healthcare is similar. Regardless of the curriculum differences, female students experience higher perceived stress and there is evidence for similarities in predictors amongst allopathic and podiatric medical students. Full article

Review

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Review
Psychological Impact of Pro-Anorexia and Pro-Eating Disorder Websites on Adolescent Females: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 2186; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18042186 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 3082
Abstract
(1) Background: Teenagers (in particular, females) suffering from eating disorders report being not satisfied with their physical aspect and they often perceive their body image in a wrong way; they report an excessive use of websites, defined as PRO-ANA and PRO-MIA, that promote [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Teenagers (in particular, females) suffering from eating disorders report being not satisfied with their physical aspect and they often perceive their body image in a wrong way; they report an excessive use of websites, defined as PRO-ANA and PRO-MIA, that promote an ideal of thinness, providing advice and suggestions about how to obtain super slim bodies. (2) Aim: The aim of this review is to explore the psychological impact of pro-ana and pro-mia websites on female teenagers. (3) Methods: We have carried out a systematic review of the literature on PubMed. The search terms that have been used are: “Pro” AND “Ana” OR “Blogging” AND “Mia”. Initially, 161 publications were identified, but in total, in compliance with inclusion and exclusion criteria, 12 studies have been analyzed. (4) Results: The recent scientific literature has identified a growing number of Pro Ana and Pro Mia blogs which play an important role in the etiology of anorexia and bulimia, above all in female teenagers. The feelings of discomfort and dissatisfaction with their physical aspect, therefore, reduce their self-esteem. (5) Conclusion: These websites encourage anorexic and bulimic behaviors, in particular in female teenagers. Attention to healthy eating guidelines and policies during adolescence, focused on correcting eating behavioral aspects, is very important to prevent severe forms of psychopathology with more vulnerability in the perception of body image, social desirability, and negative emotional feedback. Full article
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