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Risk Factors and Rates of Depression in Men: Do Males Have Greater Resilience, or Is Male Depression Underrecognized and Underdiagnosed?

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Men’s Issues and Men’s Mental Health

Abstract

A large corpus of epidemiological research indicates a differential prevalence of depression by gender, with men experiencing depression at about half the rate of women. On the one hand, some researchers have argued that this is a true difference, with men more resilient to depression due to adaptive coping mechanisms and protective psychological orientations such as engaging in distracting activities and avoiding negative rumination. On the other hand, others have argued that the differential rates are largely artefactual, with male cases missed due to systematic measurement and diagnostic biases in clinical practice and epidemiological research. This has led to lively debate about the true nature and prevalence of male depression, leading to the development of emerging concepts such as male depressive syndrome and paternal postpartum depression. This chapter analyses and discusses this literature, while also providing an in-depth examination of various risk factors for male depression including: (i) low educational attainment; (ii) unemployment and financial strain; (iii) disability; (iv) homosexual orientation; (v) divorce; and (vi) ethno-racial status. Of note, surveys indicate that rates of health service utilization for depression are considerably lower for men compared to women, meaning that many men continue to suffer this serious mental disorder in silence.

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Whitley, R. (2021). Risk Factors and Rates of Depression in Men: Do Males Have Greater Resilience, or Is Male Depression Underrecognized and Underdiagnosed?. In: Men’s Issues and Men’s Mental Health. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-86320-3_5

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