Risk Factors for Depression are Different for Men and Women

Risk Factors for Development of Major Depression Differ Among Genders, Study Reports


risk factors

Kenneth Kendler, M.D., a professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Human and Molecular Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, led a study identifying factors that distinguish the onset of major depression between men and women. The study, “Sex Differences in the Pathways to Major Depression: A Study of Opposite-Sex Twin Pairs,” is published in AJP in Advance.

Kendler and colleagues assessed 1,057 adult opposite-sex dizygotic twin pairs for the incidence of major depression within a given year, as well as 20 risk factors that may contribute to such incidences. The results showed that 11 of the 20 risk factors differed across gender lines as they relate to the development of major depression. Parental warmth, neuroticism, divorce, social support, and marital satisfaction had the strongest impact on depression in women, whereas childhood sex abuse, conduct disorder, drug abuse, history of major depression, and distal and dependent proximal stress life events had the largest impact in men. Kendler told Psychiatric News that “the developmental pathways to depression in men and women share some important elements, but on average differ from each other in some important ways.” He added that whether the findings from his new study can translate into differences in psychotherapeutic treatment responses between men and women is a question that remains to be answered.

To read more about differences in depression between men and women, see the Psychiatric News article, “Do Men Experience Depression Differently From Women?