Gendered mobility and activity pattern: implications for gendered mental health

Elsevier, Journal of Transport Geography, Volume 110, June 2023
Wang D., Yang M.

Gender difference in mobility and daily activity pattern has attracted much research attention. Evidence is piling on mobility gaps between males and females in terms of travel mode choices, travel distances, and activity pattern, etc. On the other hand, there is also empirical evidence concerning gendered mental health. There is, however, little research attention paid on the link between gendered mobility and activity pattern and gendered mental health. This study aims to establish such a link. We make use of sample survey data collected from Shanghai in 2018 and develop multigroup path analysis model to identify the relationship between mobility, activity pattern and mental health for the two gender groups. The results confirm the findings of previous studies and show that there are major differences in mobility and activity pattern between the two genders: males have longer travel time, conduct less household maintenance activities but more personal and nighttime activities, and visit few places on daily basis than females do. More importantly, this study finds that mobility and activity pattern have different implications for male and female's mental health. For instance, the usage of public transit has negative impacts on the mental health of females but not that of males, and engagement in nighttime activities contributes to the mental health of females but not that of males. Our findings highlight the importance of promoting equal mobility for both genders to enhance public mental health. In addition, planners and policy makers may develop gender-specific mental health promoting policies and strategies such as: males' mental health could benefit from land use mix strategies, which facilitate their participation in more activity types while reducing travel burdens; infrastructures and facilitates that enable more nighttime activities for females could help improve their mental health.