Stress Is 50% More Likely to Cause Depression In One Gender, Study Finds

Stress contributes to depression but it all depends on how you cope with it.

Stress contributes to depression but it all depends on how you cope with it.

Men are 50% more vulnerable to depression from stress than women, a new study finds.

The research followed up men over 25 years to reach the surprising conclusion.

Women are usually thought of as the gender who are more vulnerable to depression.

Women, though, may be better able to cope with stress because of the way they are exposed to it, said Dr. Shervin Assari, the study’s first author:

“Differential exposure to stress may help women better mobilize their psychological resources, which protect them when needed.”

One explanation for why men are more vulnerable to stress is that they are less likely to talk about their emotions.

Dr. Assari said:

“In our society, as men, we learn to see this as a weakness, as suggested by gender role identity theorists.

Hegemonic masculinity is a barrier to seek care and talk about emotions. This at least in part explains why men less frequently seek help, either professional or inside of their social networks.

Our research suggests this may come with a price for men.”

Men under stress would do well to remember that being a man is not about keeping it all inside, said Dr. Assari:

“Men should improve the way they cope and the way they mobilize their resources when they face stressful events.

They should learn from women on how to talk about emotions and use resources.

Men exposed to a lot of stress should take it seriously.

They should know being a man is not all about power.

It also comes with vulnerabilities.”

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health (Assari et al., 2016).

Brain image from Shutterstock

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Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.