Table of Contents
International Journal of Population Research
Volume 2014, Article ID 357145, 11 pages
Research Article

Gender Socialization: Differences between Male and Female Youth in India and Associations with Mental Health

1Centre for Global Health Research, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada M5B 1W8
2Department of Public Health and Mortality Studies, International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai 400 088, India
3University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada T6G 2H4

Received 28 June 2013; Accepted 11 April 2014; Published 27 April 2014

Academic Editor: Sandra D. Lane

Copyright © 2014 Usha Ram et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper describes patterns of gender socialization among youth in India and evaluates how these patterns are associated with their mental health. Data come from the Youth in India: Situation and Needs Study ( ), a subnationally representative survey conducted during 2006–2008. Descriptive results underscored the gendered nature of socialization experiences, showing that male and female youth inhabit different social worlds. Female youth expressed more gender-egalitarian attitudes than male youth but reported greater restrictions to their independence than male youth. Male youth recognized more gender-discriminatory practices within their households than did the female youth. Poisson models revealed that female youth experienced more mental health problems when their households engaged in practices that favoured males over females, even as these same practices were associated with fewer mental health problems among male youth. Family violence and restrictions to independence were associated with mental health problems for both male and female youth. When males and females engaged in behaviours contravening sex-specific gender norms, there were corresponding increases in mental health problems for both sexes. Together, these findings suggest that gender inequality permeates family life in India, with corresponding consequences for the mental well-being of male and female youth.