Extramarital affairs and psychological problems are the biggest
concerns of urban women in South China's Guangdong Province, according to the results
of a recent survey.
The survey, by the Psychology Consultation Office of the
Guangdong Provincial Women's Federation, measured women's
psychological development by using the results of 2,661
consultation cases from 1995 to 2005.
"A great majority of women who come here for consultation said
their families were plagued by extramarital affairs," said Shi
Mengjuan, a doctor at the office.
According to the survey, more than 52 percent of the women who
had come to Shi's office for consultation had dealt with
extramarital affairs by their spouses.
Since its founding 12 years ago, more than 3,000 women have
sought out psychological consultations at the center.
Shi said the number of extramarital cases cases involving
extramarital sexual activity, love triangles, bigamy and
cohabitation has been rising over the last decade.
"Extramarital affairs are more common because Chinese couples
have been influenced by the Western concept of sexual liberation
and freedom apart from traditional ethical codes," Shi said.
In addition, Shi said men today interact with a greater number
of people through work and other social situations, enabling them
to meet more women.
"It has helped increase the amount of extramarital sex," Shi
"But most women feel deeply hurt by extramarital affairs. So
they seek helps from us."
After extramarital affairs, psychological problems caused by a
heavy workload and household pressures associated with raising
children also concern urban women, Shi said.
According to the survey by Shi's office, more than 10 percent of
the women who came in for consultations were there for
Most women with psychological problems are aged between 25 and
40, the survey said.
"This special group of women, most of whom work for IT and
governmental institutions, are generally better educated. In turn,
they feel great pressure from work and family," Shi said.
However, some sociologists regard the situation as evidence of
"a breakthrough" in the traditional relationship between men and
"Women, especially educated women, are pursuing more
psychological contentment either at work or within the family since
they want to be equal to men," said Zheng Zhizheng, director of the
Sociology and Demology Research Centre of the Guangdong Provincial
Academy of Social Sciences.
"Unfortunately, they feel depressed because they suffer from too
great a workload and pressure within the family," Zheng said.
For example, women find it hard to balance looking after their
children and work after getting married, Zheng said.
Zheng also urged women who thought they might be suffering from
psychological problems to seek medical and psychological
"Women should ask for medical and psychological assistance to
help them handle psychological problems," Zheng said.
(Xinhua News Agency January 22, 2007)