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Compr Psychiatry. 2013 Nov;54(8):1198-202. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2013.04.018. Epub 2013 Jul 12.

Gender differences in demographic and clinical features and prescribing patterns of psychotropic medications in patients with major depressive disorder in China.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China; Mood Disorders Center, Beijing Anding Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China. Electronic address:



Little is known about gender differences associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) in China. This study examined gender differences associated with other demographic and clinical characteristics and psychotropic drug treatment in Chinese patients with MDD.


A total of 1178 patients with MDD from 13 psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric units of general hospitals in China nationwide were enrolled. Cross-sectional data including patients' demographic and clinical characteristics and prescriptions of psychotropic medications were recorded using a standardized protocol and data collection procedure.


The sample consisted of 793 female and 385 male patients. Univariate analyses revealed that male patients were younger than female patients, had a younger age of onset of depression, had less lifetime depressive episodes and had more bipolar features (i.e. patients who screened positive for hypomanic symptoms on the 32-item Hypomania Checklist, but did not meet the diagnostic criteria for DSM-IV bipolar disorders as measured by the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview). Also, men were more likely to be employed than women and less likely to have depressive episodes following stressful life events. In multivariate analyses, being employed, having bipolar features and not having depressive episodes following stressful life events were independently associated with being a male patient with major depressive disorder. There was no difference in use of psychotropic medications by gender.


Most gender differences in MDD patients in this study are not consistent with findings of Western studies suggesting that gender differences in MDD may be determined by both biological and sociocultural differences among ethnically different patient populations.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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