Research Topic

Understanding the Influences of Sex and Gender Differences in Mental Disorders

About this Research Topic

From birth to old age, sex and gender shape humans in a multitude of ways. Several mental disorders are marked by prominent sex/gender differences. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders, OCD, and borderline and histrionic personality disorders are up to 4 times more prevalent in girls and women than men. Alcohol and drug dependence, antisocial/dissocial personality disorder, ADHD, and autism on the contrary are significantly more prominent in boys and men. Even in disorders such as schizophrenia where men and women share similar prevalence rates, sex/gender differences affect age of onset and severity. Finally, sex- and gender-related influences can affect variations within same-sex populations and even within the same individual over time (e.g. through changes in gonadal hormone levels or gender-role). In spite of well-established differences in severity and risk of disorders, there is a sparsity of research on how sex/gender affect influences of other risk/protective factors, comorbidity, and treatment effects.


This Research Topic aims to increase the understanding of the influences of sex and gender on mental disorders by going beyond simply reporting sex/gender differences. We wish to further examine how sex and gender affect symptom development either through examining specific sex- and gender-related influences (e.g. testosterone levels or gender-role stress) on symptomatology or by examining the influences of sex and gender through mediation and moderation processes. It is our goal to provide the reader with a more in-depth understanding of how sex and gender affect factors such as symptom reporting, availability and influences of risk and protective factors, co-morbidity, primary and secondary treatment effects, compliance, side-effects and other relevant factors. We choose to focus on sex and gender influences across disorders, rather than within a specific disorder, because we wish to highlight the many ways in which sex/gender may affect disorders in order to spark both interest and future research.


We call for manuscripts of all types that examine sex and/or gender differences in-depth – i.e. go beyond simply reporting sex/gender differences in prevalence or severity. We are particularly interested in Original Research articles, Brief Reports, Case Studies, Reviews and Commentaries on:


•           Sex-related influences (e.g. menopause, hormone-based contraceptives, hormone levels, genetics) on mental disorders;

•           Gender-related influences (e.g. gender roles, gender identity, gender socialisation, gender-role stress) on mental disorders;

•           Whether sex/gender affects the impact on risk and protective factors on mental disorders (e.g. moderation effects);

•           How sex influences symptomatology (e.g. multivariate mediation models of sex/gender on symptom severity/diagnosis);

•           Whether and how sex/gender affects the clinical profile of mental disorders (e.g. diagnostic bias, secondary symptoms, help-seeking, co-morbidity, quality of life, etc.);

•           Whether and how sex/gender influences treatment outcomes (e.g. short and long-term primary and secondary effects, drop-out rates, compliance, side effects);

•           How sexual orientation affects mental disorders.



Keywords: Sex differences, gender differences, sexual orientation, mental disorders, symptomatology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

From birth to old age, sex and gender shape humans in a multitude of ways. Several mental disorders are marked by prominent sex/gender differences. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders, OCD, and borderline and histrionic personality disorders are up to 4 times more prevalent in girls and women than men. Alcohol and drug dependence, antisocial/dissocial personality disorder, ADHD, and autism on the contrary are significantly more prominent in boys and men. Even in disorders such as schizophrenia where men and women share similar prevalence rates, sex/gender differences affect age of onset and severity. Finally, sex- and gender-related influences can affect variations within same-sex populations and even within the same individual over time (e.g. through changes in gonadal hormone levels or gender-role). In spite of well-established differences in severity and risk of disorders, there is a sparsity of research on how sex/gender affect influences of other risk/protective factors, comorbidity, and treatment effects.


This Research Topic aims to increase the understanding of the influences of sex and gender on mental disorders by going beyond simply reporting sex/gender differences. We wish to further examine how sex and gender affect symptom development either through examining specific sex- and gender-related influences (e.g. testosterone levels or gender-role stress) on symptomatology or by examining the influences of sex and gender through mediation and moderation processes. It is our goal to provide the reader with a more in-depth understanding of how sex and gender affect factors such as symptom reporting, availability and influences of risk and protective factors, co-morbidity, primary and secondary treatment effects, compliance, side-effects and other relevant factors. We choose to focus on sex and gender influences across disorders, rather than within a specific disorder, because we wish to highlight the many ways in which sex/gender may affect disorders in order to spark both interest and future research.


We call for manuscripts of all types that examine sex and/or gender differences in-depth – i.e. go beyond simply reporting sex/gender differences in prevalence or severity. We are particularly interested in Original Research articles, Brief Reports, Case Studies, Reviews and Commentaries on:


•           Sex-related influences (e.g. menopause, hormone-based contraceptives, hormone levels, genetics) on mental disorders;

•           Gender-related influences (e.g. gender roles, gender identity, gender socialisation, gender-role stress) on mental disorders;

•           Whether sex/gender affects the impact on risk and protective factors on mental disorders (e.g. moderation effects);

•           How sex influences symptomatology (e.g. multivariate mediation models of sex/gender on symptom severity/diagnosis);

•           Whether and how sex/gender affects the clinical profile of mental disorders (e.g. diagnostic bias, secondary symptoms, help-seeking, co-morbidity, quality of life, etc.);

•           Whether and how sex/gender influences treatment outcomes (e.g. short and long-term primary and secondary effects, drop-out rates, compliance, side effects);

•           How sexual orientation affects mental disorders.



Keywords: Sex differences, gender differences, sexual orientation, mental disorders, symptomatology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

17 May 2021 Abstract
14 September 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

17 May 2021 Abstract
14 September 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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