Gender difference in the point prevalence, symptoms, comorbidity, and correlates of depression: findings from the Lagos State Mental Health Survey (LSMHS), Nigeria
It is still unclear whether the gender difference in the rate of depression cuts across cultures or is specific to some depressive symptoms. This study evaluated the gender difference in current prevalence, symptoms, comorbidity, and correlates of depression in Lagos, Nigeria. A total of 11,246 adult participants (6525 females and 4712 males) in a face-to-face household survey were assessed for symptoms of depression. They were also assessed for symptoms of anxiety, somatic symptoms, alcohol and substance use disorders, and disability. The difference between the point prevalence for symptoms of depression in females (6.3%, s.e 0.3) and males (4.4%, s.e 0.3) was significant (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.14–1.59). Compared to males, females had significantly higher rates for anhedonia (OR 1.20), hypersomnia (OR 2.15), fatigue (OR 1.49), guilt/worthless feeling (OR 1.41), poor concentration (OR 1.32), psychomotor retardation (OR 1.51), and suicidal ideation (OR 1.32). However, poor appetite (OR 0.69) and comorbidity with alcohol use (OR 0.25) was significantly lower in females compared to males. The significantly higher rates for depression in females were only restricted to below 45 years and higher socioeconomic status. Our study further contributed to the growing literature suggesting that the gender differences in rates of depression not only cut across many cultures, but most pronounced with atypical symptoms, not affected by recall bias and seems to disappear with increasing age. These need to be considered when formulating mental health policies for equitable and acceptable health services.
KeywordsGender difference Depression Comorbidity Prevalence Sub-Saharan Africa
Compliance with ethical standards
The International Guidelines for Ethical Review of Epidemiological Studies was followed throughout the project. The Ethics and Research Committee of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) gave the ethical approval for the project. Written informed consent was obtained from the participants before the questionnaire was administered.
Conflict of interest
Author 1 (Adewuya) received funding for the LSMHS from the Lagos State Ministry of Health. Authors 8 and 9 (Fasawe and Idris) work for the Lagos State Ministry of Health. Authors 2–7 (Coker, Atilola, Ola, Zachariah, Adewumi, and Olugbile) declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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