PSY-470 Topic 3 DQ 2 Why are women more likely to be diagnos…

PSY-470 Topic 3 DQ 2 Why are women more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men? Which theory do you believe and why? Use in-text citations in complete 6th edition APA format.

Depression is a common mental health disorder that affects individuals of all genders, races, and ages. However, it has been consistently observed that women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men. In this discussion, we will explore the possible reasons for this gender disparity and examine various theories that attempt to explain this phenomenon.

One possible reason for the higher rates of depression in women is the influence of hormonal factors. Hormonal changes, such as those experienced during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause, can impact mood and lead to depressive symptoms (Halbreich, 2017). For example, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a condition characterized by severe emotional and physical symptoms that occur during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. These symptoms, which include mood swings, irritability, and feelings of sadness, can significantly increase the risk of developing depression (Halbreich, 2017).

Additionally, the hormonal fluctuations associated with pregnancy and postpartum period can also contribute to the development of depression in women. The drastic changes in hormone levels during pregnancy and the postpartum period can disrupt neurotransmitter function and lead to depressive symptoms (Bloch et al., 2003). It has been estimated that approximately 10% to 20% of women experience postpartum depression, which is a type of depression that occurs within four weeks after giving birth (Bloch et al., 2003). The physiological changes and stressors associated with pregnancy and childbirth can increase vulnerability to depression in women.

Furthermore, social and environmental factors also play a role in the higher rates of depression among women. Gender roles and societal expectations may contribute to increased stress and reduced social support for women, which can exacerbate depression (Kessler, 2003). For instance, women often face multiple roles of motherhood, caregiving, and professional work, which can lead to feelings of overwhelm and stress (Kessler, 2003). In contrast, men may experience fewer conflicts and stressors in regard to these roles. Additionally, women are more likely to experience domestic violence, sexual abuse, and discrimination, all of which are associated with a higher risk of depression (Kessler, 2003).

In terms of theories explaining the gender disparity in depression rates, there are two prominent frameworks: the social roles theory and the hormonal theory. The social roles theory suggests that the higher rates of depression in women are primarily due to gender differences in socialization and gender roles (Kessler, 2003). According to this theory, women’s societal roles and expectations lead to greater stress and fewer coping resources, ultimately increasing the risk of depression (Kessler, 2003).

On the other hand, the hormonal theory posits that hormonal factors drive the gender differences in depression rates (Halbreich, 2017). This theory emphasizes the influence of hormonal changes, such as those occurring during the menstrual cycle and postpartum period, in the development of depression in women (Halbreich, 2017). It suggests that the fluctuating hormone levels can disrupt neurotransmitter function and lead to depressive symptoms (Halbreich, 2017).

Both theories have empirical support, and it is likely that a combination of hormonal, social, and environmental factors contribute to the higher rates of depression in women. For instance, a study by Kessler et al. (2003) found that women who experienced more chronic stressors and had lower social support were significantly more likely to develop depression. Additionally, hormonal factors, such as the use of hormonal contraceptives and the timing of the menstrual cycle, were also associated with an increased risk of depression (Kessler et al., 2003).

In conclusion, women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression compared to men. This disparity can be attributed to a combination of hormonal, social, and environmental factors. Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and postpartum period can influence mood and increase the risk of developing depression. Gender roles, societal expectations, and experiences of violence and discrimination may also contribute to the higher rates of depression in women. The social roles theory and the hormonal theory provide frameworks for understanding these gender differences in depression rates, but it is likely that a multifactorial approach is necessary to fully comprehend this complex phenomenon.

References

Bloch, M., Schmidt, P. J., Danaceau, M., & Murphy, J. (2003). Effects of gonadal steroids in women with a history of postpartum depression. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(5), 933-936.

Halbreich, U. (2017). Chronic and Subsyndromal Depression in Women. Clinics in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 60(1), 108-115.

Kessler, R. C. (2003). Epidemiology of women and depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 74(1), 5-13.

Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., Koretz, D., Merikangas, K. R., … & Wang, P. S. (2003). The epidemiology of major depressive disorder: Results from the national comorbidity survey replication (NCS-R). JAMA, 289(23), 3095-3105.