Gender differences in depression: holding the context in mind

Sandra Boughton

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    307 Downloads (Pure)


    [Truncated abstract] This thesis examines the well established finding that women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than are men. The finding of a gender difference in depression has challenged many researchers and produced a range of biological, psychological and sociological explanations. The research presented here examines the gender difference in depression in a way that locates individuals in their interpersonal context. The thesis begins with an exploration of the historical and theoretical context in which gender differences are located. A series of three studies is then presented that identify and explore an understanding of context, moving from a broad perspective to a very detailed focus on specific experiences. In the first study, multidimensional scaling analyses identified gaps concerned with contextual understandings of depression and lead to a discussion of the impact of the dominant individualistic medical model. It is proposed that whilst the medical model has lead to considerable advances in the understanding and treatment of depression one of the disadvantages of this model is that it takes an intrapsychic perspective on illness. The intrapsychic perspective deflects attention from the broader life situation of the depressed person. The social and interpersonal contexts in which depressive symptoms occur have received limited recognition and acknowledgment in research and treatment. From this broad perspective, the second study focused more specifically on variables associated with the interpersonal context...
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2011


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