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Depressive Disorders: Gender and Sex Differences

Major depressive disorders display gender and sex differences in both prevalence rate and presentation (with gender differences referring to socially constructed differences and sex differences referring to biological differences). An increased incidence of depression in women compared with men at a ratio of approximately 2:1 is one of the most consistent epidemiological findings in psychopathology. This difference is due to women having an increased risk of first onset of the disorder, as depressive episode length and frequency do not differ across genders. Multiple factors may interact to increase the likelihood of depression onset in women, including hormones, cognitive styles, and negative life events. Women and men also display differences in treatment-seeking behavior and symptom presentation. This entry briefly reviews these important gender and sex ...

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