The influence of age on gender differences in depression. Further population-based evidence on the relationship between menopause and the sex difference in depression

  • Cairney J
  • Wade T
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Objective. This study tests the hypothesis that gender differences in depression diminish after menopause (around the age of 55). Methods. Using the 1994 National Population Health Survey, we examine the relationship between age and gender on major depressive disorder in relation to sociodemographic and social covariates using contingency table analyses and multivariate logistic regression. Results. Contingency table and multivariate analyses identify significantly higher rates of depression among women before and after the age period associated with menopause. A series of multivariate analyses controlling for a broad array of social factors also does not lead to any convergence in differences of rates of depression between males and females. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) does not have a significant impact on these observed relationships. Discussion. These findings are at odds with a recent study that has identified menopause as a point where gender differences in depression diminish. Further research is required to address this inconsistency.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Age
  • Demographics
  • Depression
  • Gender
  • Health status
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Menopause
  • Psychosocial resources
  • Social stress

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  • J Cairney

  • T J Wade

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