Editor's Pick - 2020 journal highlights

Archives of Women's Mental Health publishes the latest research and review articles on current topics in a wide range of specialty areas. Here are some of highlights published in 2020, handpicked by the Editor-in-Chief Anita Riecher-Rössler.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s mental health
Marcela Almeida, Angela D. Shrestha, Danijela Stojanac & Laura J. Miller

The current worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 and its influence on the mental health was thematized in a topical collection of articles in the last issue of AWMH. While some pandemic-related stressors influence nearly everyone, many especially affect women.
In this article, the authors review what is known about the pandemic’s effect on women’s mental health, and implications for preventing and treating these mental health consequences.By providing helpful recommendations, the authors hope to mitigate the devastating effects that the virus may cause in society, particularly in women.

Exploring new tendencies of gender and health in university students
Sara Esteban-Gonzalo, Juan Luis González-Pascual, Mónica Gil-Del Sol & Laura Esteban-Gonzalo

This study investigated the impact of gender roles on mental health in Spanish university students. The best predictor of mental health was found to be masculinity, rather than femininity, highlighting the role of androgyny. It also suggested less gender-typed individuals and more flexible ways of adapting to gender roles in university students.

The effect of a web-based psychoeducation on emotional functioning, eating behaviors, and body image among premenopausal women with excess body weight
Kamila Czepczor-Bernat, Anna Brytek-Matera & Anna Staniszewska

The aims of this study were to investigate the effectiveness of two web-based psychoeducation programs for emotional functioning, eating behaviors, and body image among premenopausal women with excess body weight. Two months after completion of the 15-day intervention, there was a significant increase in emotion regulation and mindful eating, as well as a decrease in emotional eating and uncontrolled eating.

Increased risk of suicidal ideation among French women: the mediating effect of lifetime sexual victimisation. Results from the nationally representative 2017 Health Barometer survey
Fabienne El-Khoury, Meryl Puget, Christophe Leon, Enguerrand du Roscoat, Annie Velter, Nathalie Lydié & Audrey Sitbon 

Sexual victimisation has been associated with suicidal ideation, especially among women; this study analysed data on this association from the French Health Barometer, a general population phone survey, which recruited 25,319 adults aged 18 to 75 years in 2017. Women were around five times more likely to report lifetime sexual violence (9.1% vs 1.9%). And this explained a substantial share of the increased risk women have compared to men in suicidal ideation and suicidal imagery, respectively. The authors stress the importance of the prevention of sexual violence and an adequate care for victims, especially women, in public health and mental health policies and initiatives.

Challenges, supports, and postpartum mental health symptoms among non-breastfeeding mothers
Trinda Penniston, Kristin Reynolds, Shayna Pierce, Patricia Furer & Carrie Lionberg 

Women face a high degree of pressure to breastfeed. However, some women are not able to breastfeed, or choose not to - e. g. due to mental illness or medication. This study examined the experiences of non-breastfeeding mothers, including their challenges, supports, and mental health sequelae. It revealed significantly greater levels of distress, anxiety, and depression, and lower levels of social support, among non-breastfeeding, relative to breastfeeding mothers. The authors state “It is possible that the pressure women may experience regarding breastfeeding may contribute to increased psychological distress for mothers who cannot or choose not to breastfeed.”