Affective-Somatic Symptoms of Depression, Suicide Risk and Exposure to Childhood Maltreatment: Data from Emerging Adults to Older-Age Males

  • Simon M. Rice
  • David Kealy
  • John L. Oliffe
  • Zac E. Seidler
  • John S. Ogrodniczuk
Brief Report


Major depression is typically conceptualised as a disturbance of mood and behaviour. In primary care presentations however, somatic symptoms often dominate the clinical picture of depression, though investigations of organic causes may delay diagnosis. Attention to somatic symptoms may be a particularly useful means of earlier detection of men’s depression and suicidality. Utilising data from 530 Canadian men (mean age 47.91 years, range 19–88), confirmatory factor analysis supported a two-factor affective-somatic model of depression (CFI = .953, TLI = .934, RMSEA = .092, SRMR = .041). Controlling for affective symptoms, somatic symptoms accounted for unique variance in men’s suicidality. When examining static childhood risk factors, a somatic symptom × maltreatment exposure interaction indicated elevated suicidality in men reporting 3–5 childhood maltreatment types but not those reporting 1–2 types. Greater attention to somatic symptoms may improve detection of men’s depression in the context of widely held perceptions of affective symptoms being associated with vulnerability or weakness among males.


Depression Somatic Suicide Men Masculinity 


Funding Information

Funding for this study was provided by Movember Canada (Grant No. 11R18455).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Centre for Youth Mental HealthThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Youth Mood Clinic, Orygen Youth Health, Northwestern Mental HealthMelbourne HealthMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  4. 4.School of NursingUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  5. 5.School of PsychologyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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