Gender differences in the prevalence of somatic versus pure depression: a replication.

Research paper by Brett B Silverstein

Indexed on: 04 Jun '02Published on: 04 Jun '02Published in: The American journal of psychiatry


Using data from the Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) study, the author attempted to replicate the finding of the National Comorbidity Survey that the prevalence of depression associated with somatic symptoms was much higher among women than men.The author reanalyzed data from the ECA study. He divided respondents into those who met criteria for major depression and exhibited appetite and sleep disturbances and fatigue (somatic depression) and those who met depression criteria but did not exhibit all of these somatic criteria (pure depression).The reanalysis revealed that the prevalence of somatic depression but not pure depression was much higher among women than men. Somatic depression was associated with high rates of pain; among women, it was associated with high rates of anxiety disorders and chronic dysphoria.The gender difference in depression may result from a difference in a specific type of depression-anxious somatic depression.