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Geriatrics 2017, 2(4), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/geriatrics2040035

The Gender Difference in Depression: Are Elderly Women at Greater Risk for Depression Than Elderly Men?

1
Department of Psychology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
2
School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Stockton University, 101 Vera King Farris Drive, Galloway, NJ 08205, USA
Each author contributed equally to the writing of the manuscript.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 August 2017 / Revised: 31 October 2017 / Accepted: 2 November 2017 / Published: 15 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Depressive Disorder in the Elderly)
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Abstract

Numerous epidemiological reports have found that adolescent, young adult, and middle-aged adult girls and women are more likely to be diagnosed with unipolar depression and report greater symptoms of depression when compared to boys and men of similar ages. What is less well-known is whether this gender difference persists into late life. This literature review examines whether the well-known gender difference in unipolar depression continues into old age, and, if it does, whether the variables that are known to contribute to the gender difference in unipolar depression from adolescence through adulthood continue to contribute to the gender difference in the elderly, and/or whether there are new variables that arise in old age and contribute to the gender difference in the elderly. In this review of 85 empirical studies from every continent except for Antarctica, we find substantial support for the gender difference in depression in individuals who are 60 and older. More research is necessary to determine which factors are the strongest predictors of the gender difference in depression in late life, and particularly whether the factors that seem to be responsible for the gender difference in depression in earlier life stages continue to predict the gender difference in the elderly, and/or whether new factors come into play in late life. Longitudinal research, meta-analyses, and model-based investigations of predictors of the gender difference in depression are needed to provide insights into how and why the gender difference in depression persists in older age. View Full-Text
Keywords: depression; gender differences; sex differences; aging; older adults depression; gender differences; sex differences; aging; older adults
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Girgus, J.S.; Yang, K.; Ferri, C.V. The Gender Difference in Depression: Are Elderly Women at Greater Risk for Depression Than Elderly Men? Geriatrics 2017, 2, 35.

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