According to a new survey, women tend to be more likely than men when it comes to reporting severe headaches and symptoms associated with depression.

The current analysis has been offered by a new European Social Survey (ESS) report. A total of 21 countries are included in the report that analyzes the attitudes linked to mental and physical health. It takes into account factors such as alcohol consumption, being overweight, and more. One of the findings present in the survey deal with women experiencing an increased rate of headaches and depressive symptoms compared to men.

The ESS report shares the conclusion that a significant amount of Europeans suffer from a lot of mental and physical health ailments. One of the reasons for such an occurrence has to do with social and economic conditions.


The authors of the report found out that only promoting a healthy lifestyle isn’t an effective strategy when it comes to reducing the health problems faced by human beings. Support provided through the improvement of working conditions and policies for income redistribution is also required. The current results are based on more than 40,000 survey responses that were gathered from across Europe during the 2014-2015.

One of the clearest findings from the current report is that European women experience high rates of severe headaches and symptoms linked to depression. In all of the surveyed countries, signs of depression were reported more by women compared to men. The difference was quite huge in some of the countries.

In Portugal, 30.9% of women reported such signs compared to only 15.8% of men. In Poland the rate was observed to be 25.3% women compared to 11.3% men. In Spain it was 24.7% women compared to 12.8% men. While in Germany it was 20.2% women compared to 9% men. Hungary was the only country in the survey in which 20% of men reported suffering from depressive symptoms.

Coming to experiencing severe headaches, women were found to be more likely than men to suffer from such a condition. About 30.2% of French women reported suffering from severe headaches. The lowest number reported by men was 3.8%.

The report also looked at smoking and the related gender gap. The 13 highest rates of smoker, according to the survey, were male. Men in Lithuania reported a rate of 48.8% while Hungary reported a rate of 41.3%. Rates for self-reported smoking by men were quite low in Ireland, UK and Northern Europe. They’re comparatively higher in Eastern and Central Europe.

With both genders combined, Sweden showed the lowest rate of smokers, being below 15%. However, Swedish men and women who previously smoked came in at 77.8% and 76.2% respectively. Israel, Poland and Austria showed high rates of individuals smoking above 20 cigarettes per day.

The current report also analyzed the rates of being overweight in the surveyed countries. Men happened to be more likely than women to report being overweight. Highest levels of being overweight were seen in Czech Republic (67.4%), Slovenia (61.2%) and Hungary (63.8%).

Depressed Woman

Coming to alcohol consumption, the rates of frequent binge drinking were quite high in Portugal and the UK. The rates were rare among women living in Eastern and Central Europe, and Nordic countries. Men consumed almost twice as more alcohol than women. Alcohol drinking during the weekends was double the amount consumed during weekdays.

According to the author of the report, Prof. Terje A. Eikemo, while the current results do provide some new evidence with regards to the link present between health and welfare status in Europe, a lot more work still needs to be done.

The researchers hope that the results encourages social and medical communities to work together in order to improve the lifestyles of people and make them healthier.