New Diagnostic Criteria Reduce Sex Disparity in Depression

New Diagnostic Criteria Reduce Sex Disparity in Depression
New Diagnostic Criteria Reduce Sex Disparity in Depression

(HealthDay News) – In analyses combining traditional and alternative symptoms of depression, the prevalence of depression is comparable for men and women, according to a study published online Aug. 28 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Lisa A. Martin, PhD, from the University of Michigan in Dearborn, and colleagues used data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication to examine sex differences in depression symptom endorsement using two new scales that included alternative depression symptoms.

The researchers found that, compared with women, men reported higher rates of anger attacks/aggression, substance abuse, and risk taking. Based on analyses using the scale that included alternative, male-type depression symptoms, the proportion of men who met the criteria for depression was significantly higher than the proportion of women (26.3% vs. 21.9%; P=0.007). Based on analyses using the scale that incorporated traditional and alternative symptoms of depression, the proportion of men and women with depression was equal (30.6% and 33.3%, respectively; P=0.57).

"When alternative and traditional symptoms are combined, sex disparities in the prevalence of depression are eliminated," the authors write. "Further study is needed to clarify which symptoms truly describe men's experiences of depression."

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