Past Issues

Gender Differences in Depressive Symptoms and their Relation to Personality Traits

Yi-Chun Yao, M.D.1,2 Ching-Yen Chen, M.D.1,2

Objectives:Results of previous studies have suggested that depression and depressive symptoms are more prevalent in females than in males. Gender differences in personality factors, especially neuroticism, may play a key role in the gender difference in depression. But it is possible that instruments to measure depression are gender-biased. The aims of this study were to detect depressive symptoms and gender differences using different screening instruments and to further examine their relation to personality traits. Methods:The study sample consisted of 550 young male and female university students in northern Taiwan. We studied the role of gender in depression with the Chinese version of the Gotland Male Depression Scale (GMDS) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). We also used the Chinese version of the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ) to investigate the gender difference in novelty seeking, harm avoidance, and reward dependence in depressed subjects. Results:No gender differences were found in prevalence of depression or depressive symptoms among the self-reported depressed subjects using the GMDS or the BDI. No gender differences existed in all three TPQ dimensions in depressed subjects using the GMDS. With the BDI, we found that only total scores of reward dependence were signifi cantly higher among female than among male depressed subjects and that signifi cant correlations existed between HA scores and severity of depression in both genders. Conclusions:The subjects with the younger ages and the relatively homogeneous social backgrounds in this study may not explain the gender differences in self-reported depression.
Key Word depression, gender differences, personality
Editorial Committe, Taiwanese Journal of Psychiatry
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