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J Affect Disord. 2005 Dec;89(1-3):35-44. Epub 2005 Oct 10.

Gender differences in adolescent depression: do symptoms differ for boys and girls?

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  • 1Drexel University College of Medicine, United States.



Limited prior research suggests that depressed women are more likely to experience certain symptoms of depression than are depressed men. The purpose of this study was to examine whether such gender differences in depressive symptoms are present during adolescence.


The Childhood Version of the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia and the Beck Depression Inventory were administered to adolescents presenting for evaluation at an outpatient clinic (n=383; ages 11.9 to 20.0).


Depressed girls and boys had similar symptom prevalence and severity ratings for most depressive symptoms. However, depressed girls had more guilt, body image dissatisfaction, self-blame, self-disappointment, feelings of failure, concentration problems, difficulty working, sadness/depressed mood, sleep problems, fatigue, and health worries than depressed boys on some comparisons. In contrast, depressed boys had higher clinician ratings of anhedonia, depressed morning mood, and morning fatigue.


Longitudinal research is needed to test whether such relatively gender-specific symptoms play different roles in the onset, maintenance, or remittance of depression for boys and girls.


These findings indicate that, in general, the experience of depression is highly similar for adolescent girls and boys. However, some gender differences previously found among depressed adults appear to be present by adolescence, possibly suggesting somewhat distinct etiologies for depression among males and females.

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