Depression Impacts Men and Women Differently

Look past the simple numbers of how many people need to find a therapist or counselor to address depression or anxiety. Beyond those numbers, how are people impacted, on an every day level, because of their mental health? Despite common perceptions, more men than women have trouble getting through their every day lives when faced with depression. So concludes a new study, one of the most robust on the topic, from the University of Otago, Wellington. The researchers found that men, more than women, had problems functioning their day-to-day personal and professional roles when struggling with depression. There was no data on whether therapy and counseling increased coping skills, nor did the research address the cause of the disparity. However, the authors suggest relationship styles as a possible explanation: if women are more likely to have emotionally intimate and supportive friendships, those relationships may serve as a buffer to some of depression’s negative side effects.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Colin

    Colin

    December 19th, 2010 at 5:11 AM

    I always thought women are more prone to depression and other mental health problems…This is something new and surprising to me…And this will hopefully send the healthcare community in the right direction for finding better ways at treating and even preventing depression in different people…

  • Helen R

    Helen R

    December 19th, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    Not only does depression affect men and women differently but the two groups behave differently to it too…I have observed that when i’m depressed I would like all the assurance I can get from my husband and comfort from him but when he is he just makes himself alone and either goes out or wants to be left alone…

  • steve

    steve

    December 19th, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    This really does surprise me. I would have thought that women would have a harder time as they tend to be more emotional but maybe the friendships that they tend to have are what keeps them a little more sane when suffering with depression.

  • KP

    KP

    December 19th, 2010 at 11:55 PM

    Depression differs for different genders? No surprise there. because if you ask me, depression differs from one individual to another!

  • Jon

    Jon

    December 20th, 2010 at 5:34 AM

    What we can take from this is something very important in that just like many other health issues, treatment for men and women cannot be the same either. What works for one sex is not going to worl for the toher- and this is true no matter the health issue that is at hand. So this means that more time needs to be spent delving into these individual issues with patients and designing individual treatment plans that can meet their needs without sacrificing the care that they receive.

  • valerie

    valerie

    December 22nd, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    Men do tend to keep their depression to themselves more than women do. I have both male and female friends with depression. Why I don’t understand because it can happen to anyone and is nothing to be ashamed of. Women talk more freely naturally about their feelings with close friends. I don’t see men having the same kind of relationship with their male friends and being comfortable talking with their buddies about much beyond sports and more general topics.

  • Taylor

    Taylor

    December 22nd, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    Does it dent the male ego not to be perfect or something? Could be. Depression is often associated with women first and men second in people’s minds. Not manly enough of an illness for them, perhaps…

    Seriously, seek help for depression. It’s incredible how much can be done to lift it these days.

  • hannah

    hannah

    December 22nd, 2010 at 10:18 PM

    Men in most households, despite the shifts in working practices in the last generation or two, remain the main family breadwinners. They are the financial providers and protectors. Depression does not factor in to that image of strength.

  • careerguy

    careerguy

    December 23rd, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    I’m not going to go on record at work as being depressed, simple as that. What’s that going to do to my career? Leaders are not depressed or if they are, they make a good job of hiding it.

  • Hollie

    Hollie

    December 23rd, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    But do they make a good job of hiding it, careerguy? Not according to that study. “Our research confirms that women are more likely than men to experience mood and anxiety disorders, but what is new is our finding that among men and women with those disorders, it is actually men who experience greater difficulties in role, social and cognitive functioning,” says Dr. Scott.”

    They might think they are when the reality is very different. It’s sad that you guys feel the need to do so at all.

  • Maya

    Maya

    December 23rd, 2010 at 8:01 PM

    If men went for checkups as regularly as women do and were as honest about how they felt, their depression would be nipped in the bud. Stubbornness stands in their way too.

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