Gender differences in the developmental course of depression.

Research paper by Cecilia A CA Essau, Peter M PM Lewinsohn, John R JR Seeley, Satoko S Sasagawa

Indexed on: 25 Jun '10Published on: 25 Jun '10Published in: Journal of Affective Disorders


There is ample evidence for female preponderance of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adolescence and adulthood. This study examined gender differences in the developmental course (i.e., incidence, duration, number of depressive episodes, and recovery rates) of MDD in non-referred adolescents and young adults.Data from the Oregon Adolescent Depression Project were used to examine gender differences in the developmental course of MDD. Gender differences in the onset, duration, number of depressive episode and rate of recovery from MDD were examined in a population-based sample of the same individuals (participants: N=773) during adolescence (age 14 to 17) and at age 30.Compared to males, females have higher incidence rates of MDD and had a more chronic course. Difference in duration of depressive episodes is marginally significant between male and female, with females having longer episodes. Lower onset age correlates significantly with more number of episodes in both genders; however, lower onset age predicts a worse course of depression only in females.The sample was from a single region of the country and consisted mostly of White adolescents.Childhood depression may be a more serious risk factor for girls than for boys.