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Men Are As Likely to Suffer From Depression as Women

Update Date: Aug 29, 2013 09:38 AM EDT
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Although depression can affect all people of different ages, genders and ethnicities, it is a mental illness that has been mostly associated with women. Based on findings from previous studies, researchers have concluded that women are 70 percent more likely to suffer from major depression than men are. Due to the higher rates of females suffering from depression, this group of people arguably gets more attention when it comes to preventative measures. In a new study, however, researchers find that men are just as likely to suffer from depression as women are.

"When it comes to depression in men, to some extent we have blinders on," commented Dr. Andrew Leuchter according to the LA Times. Leuchter is a psychiatrist who studies depression at the University of California Los Angeles. "We have not been asking about and taking into account a range of symptoms that may be gender-specific."

For this study, the researchers from the University of Michigan and Vanderbilt University were interested in examining the different types of depressive symptoms that men and women deal with. The researchers looked at multiple types of depressive symptoms. They created two scales, one, which was gender-neutral and one that focused on particular depressive symptoms seen in men. The gender-neutral scale included symptoms such as sadness, worthlessness, feelings of guilt, difficulty sleeping and loss of interest in one's hobbies in combination with depressive symptoms seen in men. The other scale only focused on male depressive symptoms, which include aggression, irritability, risky behaviors and substance abuse.

"You end up getting very similar rates of depression," the study's lead author, Lisa Martin commented according to FOX News.

The researchers used these two scales to test around 5,700 American adults. The participants were interviewed as a part of a larger long-term study of mental health conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School. Of the participants involved, 41 percent were male. The researchers found that when they used the "gender inclusive depressions scale," 30.6 percent of men and 33.3 percent of women were diagnosed with a depressive episode at some time in their lives. When the researchers used only the "male symptoms scale," they calculated that 26.3 percent of men and 21.9 percent of women suffered from a major depressive episode at some point in their lives.

"These findings could lead to important chances in the way depression is conceptualized and measured," the study's authors stated.

The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry

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