It's long been believed that women suffer more of the stresses of life, and research has shown that repeated stress can translate into depression.
So it might be logical to conclude that women who experience such stresses would suffer more depressive symptoms than men later in life, right? Wrong.
New research from the University of Michigan School of Public Health found that men are 50 percent more vulnerable to the effects of stress when the researchers examined how stressful events translated into depression 25 years later.
Research focuses on how gender and race impact issues of health. In this case, researchers found no association with race and depression over time. One explanation for what with men and depression is that they are less likely to talk about the emotions and stressors they encounter, compared with women.
"In our society, as men, we learn to see this as a weakness, as suggested by gender role identity theorists," author said. "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."
In addition to how men and women cope with stress, other distinctions may be due to gender differences in resilience, risk perception and general exposure.
"Differential exposure to stress may help women better mobilize their psychological resources, which protect them when needed," author said. It's also possible that men may underreport their stresses, and that those who do acknowledge them are the ones who are most affected by depression later.
"Men should improve the way they cope and the way they mobilize their resources when they face stressful events," author said. "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."
Men more vulnerable to developing depression from long-term stress
- 625 views