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Home Industry News Gender differences in depression ‘evident from age 12 onwards’

Gender differences in depression ‘evident from age 12 onwards’

28th April 2017

Gender-based differences in the development of depression may be observed as early as age 12, according to new research.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison study assessed data from more than 3.5 million people in over 90 countries, offering evidence that depression affects more women than men, as well as highlighting potential reasons why.

It was previously thought that this gender difference emerged between the ages of 13 and 15, but this more comprehensive dataset indicated that the gap is already present at age 12, with hormonal changes and social factors both potentially playing a role.

One surprise was that nations with greater gender equity were more likely to see women disproportionately diagnosed with major depression, potentially because women have more contact with men in these societies, resulting in depression arising from direct comparisons of status and social outlooks.

Janet Hyde, a professor of psychology and gender and women's studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said: "We need to start before age 12 if we want to prevent girls from sliding into depression. Depression is often quite treatable."

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