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Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2008 Dec;43(12):983-98. doi: 10.1007/s00127-008-0388-z. Epub 2008 Jun 23.

Gender differences in depression and anxiety across the adult lifespan: the role of psychosocial mediators.

Author information

  • 1Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia. liana.leach@anu.edu.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is robust epidemiological and clinical evidence that a greater number of women than men experience depression and anxiety. This study investigated a number of socio-demographic, health and lifestyle, psychological and social factors as possible mediators for the gender difference in depression and anxiety in three cohorts (20-24, 40-44, 60-64).

METHODS:

Responses were from a representative, community based survey (n = 7,485) conducted in Canberra and Queanbeyan (NSW), in Australia. Depression and anxiety were measured using the self-report Goldberg Anxiety and Depression Scales. The analyses initially identified gender differences in the potential mediators, followed by univariate and multivariate mediation models.

RESULTS:

The results indicated several shared mediators for depression and anxiety across the three age groups including: childhood adversity, mastery, behavioural inhibition, ruminative style, neuroticism, physical health, physical activity, and perceived interpersonal and employment problems. There was a decrease in the number of social mediators as age increased. The multivariate models accounted for gender differences in both conditions for all age groups, except for anxiety in the 20-24 years old. This suggests further important unmeasured mediators for this age group.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings add to the literature surrounding gender differences in depression and anxiety, and provide a basis for future research exploring variation in these gender disparities over the adult lifespan.

PMID:
18575787
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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