General Article Why stress is more likely to cause depression in men than in women

Topic Selected: Depression
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Shervin Assari, University of Michigan

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more women are affected by depression than men. This pattern is seen in countries around the world, including the United States.

Cross-national and cross-cultural studies have indicated that the prevalence of depression among women is higher at any given time than among men. This pattern does not seem to have many exceptions.

Why is that? Biological differences between men and women, like hormones, explain part of it. These are examples of sex differences. But social factors between men and women (gender differences) may play a bigger role. For instance, women, in general, experience more stress than men, and research has shown that social stress is a main cause of depression.

But, new research that I’ve conducted with my colleague Maryam Moghani Lankarani suggests that men might be more vulnerable to depression caused by stressful events.

Why are...

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