Hypothyroidism and its Impact on General Mental Health, Body Image Satisfaction and Aggression in Males and Females: A Comparative StudyDownload PDF
Background: Hypothyroidism is an insidious condition with a significant morbidity and often subtle and non specific symptoms and clinical signs. From over a decade, various research studies have shown a link between disturbed thyroid levels and mental illness. Thyroid related illnesses are more common in females as compared to males.
Aim: The aim of the study was to see whether hypothyroidism has any relation with general mental health, body image satisfaction and aggression in males and females.
Method: Participants were 60 patients (30 males and 30 females) from Rajasthan, India, in the age range of 35 -70 years, with no medical illness other than hypothyroidism. They gave their consent to participate in the study. General mental health was assessed using the general health questionnaire (by Goldberg & Williams, 1988), body image satisfaction through Body Areas Satisfaction Scale (BASS by Cash, 2000; Brown, Cash & Mikulka,1990) and aggression through aggression questionnaire by (Buss & Warren, 2000). Sample was purposive and the data were collected in individual situations.
Results: There was difference between male and female patients with regard to general mental health, body image satisfaction and aggression, however the results were significant on the dimension of body image satisfaction and aggression, where female patients had significantly more body image dissatisfaction than that of male patients (t = 4.34, p = .01) and male patients had more aggression compared to female patients (t = 2.28, p= .01). With regard to correlation between hypothyroidism, general mental health, body image satisfaction and aggression, there was significant inverse correlation between hypothyroidism and general mental health (r= -.78) and body image satisfaction (r= -.54) and significant positive correlation between hypothyroidism and aggression (r= .14).
Conclusion: It can be concluded that hypothyroidism has an impact on the mental health of individuals, therefore doctors should provide adequate care to the individuals showing signs of disturbed mood, irritability and anger and also psychiatrists should not neglect the dissatisfaction displayed by patients towards their bodies while undergoing psychiatric treatment and both the professionals should try to find the underlying reasons for the various issues raised by their patients and should provide them the much needed support and adequate guidance .However, due to the small sample size the result findings cannot be generalized.
Keywords: Hypothyroidism, Mental health, Body image satisfaction and Aggression