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Gender Differences in Depression

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Gender Differences in Depression

Chen Xinyi

Wen Tian,

Ni Xuewei

Wenzhou-Kean University

Gender differences are the widespread factor of depressive disorders, which are researched by several authorities. Several factors associated with the social situation, psychology fluctuation and biological differences, which lead to the sex-related morbidity of depressive disorders. From social and psychology view, female think repetitively and passively when they face negative daily events and female apply different strategy to deal with their mental problem. From the biological view, genes and neurotransmitters also change females' behavior.

The gender differences in depression mainly caused by different social effects. According to Jack (2006), across many nations, cultures and ethnicities, women are about twice as likely as men to develop depression. Social role and cultural influence have a certain effect on women's depression.

During a marriage life, there are many specific requirements to women which cause lot of negative impact on women. For example, in order to care for the family and children, opportunities for women to participate in a paid job are reduced and married women who have no job in modern society have a lower position, while women with work shoulder the double responsibility and pressure of their family and work. On the other hand, working women are also facing economic discrimination, inequality at work, tedious housework and responsibility to raise children.

As for the social situation for women, women have less power and status than men in most societies, they experience certain traumas, particularly sexual abuse, more often than men. They also experience more chronic strains, such as poverty, harassment, lack of respect, and constrained choices. (Vittorio, 2016)

Women’s lack of social power makes them more vulnerable than men to specific major traumas, particularly sexual abuse. Traumas may contribute directly to depression, by making women feel they are helpless to control their lives, and may also contribute indirectly by increasing women s reactivity to stress. Women s social roles also carry a number of chronic strains that might contribute directly or in-directly to depression.

The differences between male and female can't only be defined with social factors. More and more information can prove that biological factors also affect people to suffer depressive disorder in the resent researches. Halbreich's group (2002) did the research about noradrenaline and 5-hydroxytryptamine is proved that gender differences in depressive disorder are related to these two neurotransmitters. The level of MHPG keeps fluctuating and changes with people's age. However, female patients usually have the lower level of MHPG than male patients and male patients usually have the normal level of MHPG.

The receptor binding rate of 5-HT has gender differences between male and female and male's rate is much higher than female. Moreover, the mental disorder related to 5-HT also related to the receptor binding rate. Nishizawa (1997) found that healthy male has 50% higher receptor binding rate than healthy female, which might be the reason why male has lower morbidity than female.

Hormone affects people's functions of neurotransmitters and female's periods. Usually, in puberty, the morbidity of depressive disorder increases a lot. However, there is no evidence shows that hormone leads to depressive disorder. According to the research, it is influenced by the gender, puberty and the genes about how people reflect negative daily events and depressive disorder.

Besides biological and social differences, psychological difference has been proved as another determinate factor. According to Rudy Nydegger (2016), there are many theories explained women and men mental processes (e.g., rumination, lack of control, self-blame). Women are experiencing “role overload” in psychology and they are relatively frail and emotional; when things are out of control and social press goes high, women are more likely to blame themselves.

To explore deeper in rumination theory, in Nolen-Hoeksema’s (2000) work, she demonstrated that ruminative people think repetitively andpassively about their negative emotions, focusing on their symptoms of distress andworrying about the meaning of their distress. Examples of ruminative thoughts include, “I just can’t do anything?”, “Why my reaction is so bad?”, “Why my mood is so bad and I can’t calm myself?”As table 1 shows, Nolen-Hoeksemaand Amelia Aldao (2011) in the later researchfound that the rumination levels of women are higher than men’s in every age group. In addition, rumination is significantly positively correlated with depressive symptoms. In other words, women are more likely than men to be ruminators and are therefore more likely to become depressed (Rudy 2010).

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