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Men More Likely to 'Ignore' Symptoms of Depression than Women: Study

Update Date: Nov 19, 2012 07:47 AM EST

A study suggests that men are twice as likely as women to ward off their depression as just a low feeling. The study of our attitudes to mental health highlights the consequence of society's assumptions and assigned gender roles.  

Men are usually assumed to be tough, and hence, both sexes are less likely to recognize the signs of depression in them, says a researcher from the University of Westminster.

Men are apparently more likely to turn a blind eye to emotional distress than women, a report in The Telegraph suggests.

For the study, researchers asked more than 1,200 people to gauge if two fictional characters were suffering from a mental health problem. One of the fictional characters was a male, while the other was female: Jack and Kate.  Half of the participants were asked to assess Jack's mental health condition and half were asked to assess Kate's, while a paragraph about these characters was read out to the participants.

It started: "For the past two weeks, Kate / Jack has been feeling really down. S/he wakes up in the morning with a flat, heavy feeling that sticks with her / him all day."

The findings of the study revealed that while 57 percent participants thought that Kate was suffering from depression, only 52 percent of them thought the same about Jack.

While just 10 percent were sure that Kate did not have any mental health issues, 21 percent participants thought the same of Jack. The rest of the participants were unsure.

There was no gender difference among participants regarding how they thought about Kate's mental health situation.  However, in the case of Jack, it was found that men were twice as likely as women to opine that Jack had no mental health issues.

"In our society men are led to believe that they don't suffer from depression," Dr. Viren Swami, who wrote the article published in the journal PLoS One, was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

"Men tend to deny having depression in the first place. They tend to think their feelings are just part of daily life," he added.

This implied that they also dismissed the possibility of depression in other men as well.

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