Running Head: A Research Proposal on a Study of the Differences in Females and Males in Depression

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Running Head: A Research Proposal on a Study of the Differences in Females and Males in Depression





1.0 Introduction

Psychologists have indentified distinct variations between the manifestations of male and female depressions. Male depression is not as common as female depression though still depression affects a considerable proportion of any given population. For example it is estimated that in every 1 year period, an estimated 9.5% of the American population suffer from a depressive illness, (Weich, S., Sloggett, A. & Lewis, 1998). The negative impacts of depression is overwhelming; reduced economic productivity, interference with an individual’s normal functioning, untold pain and suffering to victims and their families and friends, destruction of family life, negative effects on individual’s thinking and actions and in extreme cases self harm and harm of others; makes gender based differentiation of depression imperative, (Cadoret, Winokur, Langbehn, et al 1996).

Research studies show that several differences exist in terms of causes and effects between male and female depression. The differences are as a result of varying factors. For example societal expectations form an explanation since males and females are expected to deal with depression differently. Varying gender roles in society which expects women to freely open up and discuss their feelings as opposed to societal induced male roles which expects men to be strong emotionally. In terms of causes there also exist a variety of explanations. For example male depression is associated with self criticism and repression of emotions while female depression is based on low self esteem and dependency.

Resultantly, depressive expressions will also vary as males will exhibit depression in manners different from that of females. For example as a result of repressed depressive feelings, depressed males tend to engage more in suicide and violence when compared to females. To gain a proper understanding of the difference, this study will identify the differences in male and female depressions in terms of causes, developmental course, and effects thereby offering recommendations on how best the two conditions can be handled gender specifically.

1.1 Problem Statement

Males and Females with depressed moods report similar levels of subjective, social and occupational impairment even though there is a tendency of females to report more depressive symptoms than males. Similarity in moods and influence, complexity of establishing the symptoms and wide variation makes it difficult to concretely identify the differences in male and female depression.

2.0 The Research Objective/Questions/ Hypotheses

2.1 Hypothesis

The existence of gender differences with respect to varying forms of depressions is a reality. The prevalence, incidence and morbidity risk of depressive disorders are higher in females than males beginning at adolescent and persisting through life. Depression therefore differs considerably on its cause, effects, clinical manifestation, age and course of development within the two different genders.

2.2 Research Objectives

The objectives of this study are:

  • To investigate the differences between male and female depression in terms of prevalence, incidence and morbidity risk
  • To analyze how different depression types affects different genders
  • To review evident observable differences between male and female depressions
  • To explore gender differences in depressive symptomatology.
  • To describe variations in duration of depression period between males and females
  • To offer explanatory factors that account for existing gender differences in depression

2.3 Research Questions

The purpose of this study will be to determine the differences between males and females in depression. It therefore seeks to examine the relationship between causative agents, developmental course and resulting effects between the two genders. To guide the stated purpose of the study, the following research questions will be examined:

  1. To what extent are depressive disorders prevalent in terms of incidence and morbidity risks in males and females?
  2. What relationship exits between depression types and gender predisposition?
  3. How does reporting and report patterns affect perceived gender differences in depression?
  4. What gender differences exist in the course of depression?
  5. What are the existing factors that account for existing differences between male and female depression?

3.0 Study Rationale

Depression prevalence is at a very high rate in globally especially with respect to the female population as reported by (Cadoret, Winokur, Langbehn, et al 1996, Weich, Sloggett, & Lewis, 1998, Weissman, & Klerman, 1977) Being a casual factor for a number of other major related illnesses and conditions in human beings, depression is a significant public health problem. Experts agree of the existence of differences between male and female depressions. Unless better research is undertaken and radical changes applied to depression management procedure, majority of the population does and will continue to face tremendous health and economic burden in the very near future.

Are there differences in female and male depressions? Although considerable research offer an affirmative answer to this question, more scientific evidence is still needed to uncover and support possible pathogenic and social associations between depression and its effects of human population based on their genders, (Marco, & Greg, 2002) . The study will serve as a significant contribution to answer the question. One of the main issues in the rationale for this study will be to study given historical evidences of how depression affects the general population based on existing literature. By this Depression and it’s economic, health, social and environmental factors will be better understood.

Depressive related illnesses affecting different genders are left interpreted, diagnosed and treated under generally similar clinical procedures irrespective of the gender of the sufferer. The study can further help to support the consistency of research findings that female and male depressions differ considerably and should be handled differently in terms of clinical management procedures. The study will further provide an understanding of the patterns of distribution of destructive depressive illnesses.

4.0 The conceptual /Theoretical framework

4.1 Gender Based Differences in Depression Based on Clinical Observation

Gender difference in depressive symptomatology has received wide ranging scholastic attention, (Erica, Longhurst, & Mazure, 1999, Marco, & Greg, 2002, Weissman, M. M. & Klerman, 1977). Existing literature identify different categorizations or forms of depressions asserting that gender differences in depressive disorders are a reality. Dysthymic disorder (Dysthymia), psychotic depression, postpartum depressions, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and atypical depression are all prevalent in females when compared to males (Marco, & Greg, 2002). Bipolar disorder on the other hand is more or less of equal prevalence between the two sexes even though women tend to suffer more. In terms of incidence based on clinical observation; females tend to suffer more on the above named depression types.

Scientific researches have identified differences between male and female depressions in terms of causes, expressions and effects and the relative interrelatedness between these aspects. Male depression is as a result of repressed emotions, perceived failure, criticism from others and self and is also biologically induced in certain cases. Although researchers ascertain that depression is more common in females in comparison to males based on clinical evidences, (Erica, Longhurst, & Mazure, 1999) argue that this difference may only be attributable to male tendency to avoid clinical therapy. Due to societal expectation of male roles, men tend to stay away from therapy as it may be interpreted as a sign of weakness.  Those who agree to commit to therapy tend to still repress their emotions and through. Higher prevalence of clinical and subclinical depression types is a reflection of socially designed order.

Clinical manifestations of depressions differ by gender. Females often report disturbances of appetite, and sleep, fatigue, somatic anxiety and will tend to blame themselves for depression related implications, while males will blame others for their depressive feelings. Females tend to feel sad, apathetic and worthless hence they will tend to blame themselves and generally internally direct any anger. Males on the other end will tend to feel angry and irritable, thereby exhibiting increased levels of alcohol or drug abuse and violence. Furthermore females tend to feel anxious and scared while males feel suspicious and guarded, Cadoret, R. J., Winokur, G., Langbehn, D., et al (1996).

The relative developmental pathways also differ considerably based on gender. Females will tend to experience already existing anxiety disorders hence will tend to live in reclusion, avoiding conflicts at all costs while men will tend to create conflict, showing conflict at every possible opportunity. This is an indication of manifestation of externalizing disorders. Women will be overly nice to their associates while men will be covertly hostile. All the descriptions are aspects of depression spectrum there also exists aged based variations between the genders. The onset of major depression are detected as from mid puberty to early adulthood in females while male depression prevalence onset in early adolescence. The course of depression is a major factor in understanding the existing gender differences in depression. Furthermore (Marco, & Greg, 2002, Cadoret, Winokur, Langbehn, et al 1996) all assert that,.............

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