For reasons that are not yet fully understood, depression affects women twice as often as men. In this article we describe an investigation of how depression is understood in relation to men and women by the patients themselves, the media, and the medical research establishment. We do this by undertaking a metasynthesis of data from three different sources: interviews with depressed patients, media portrayals of depressed individuals in Sweden, and international medical articles about depression. The findings reveal that there are differences in (a) the recognition of depression, (b) the understanding of the reasons for depression, and (c) the contextualization of depression. Although women and men describe different symptoms and reasons for falling ill, these gendered expressions are not acknowledged in articles coming from Western medical settings. We discuss the implications of these findings and conclude that an integrated model for understanding biological, gender, and cultural aspects of depression has yet to be developed.
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