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Why is depression more prevalent in women than in men?

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Summary:

Depression is twice as common among women as among men. About 20 percent of women will experience at least one episode of depression across their lifetime.

Answer:

Depression is twice as common among women as among men. About 20 percent of women will experience at least one episode of depression across their lifetime. Scientists are examining many potential causes for and contributing factors to women’s increased risk for depression. Biological, life cycle, hormonal and psychosocial factors unique to women may be linked to women’s higher depression rates. Researchers have shown, for example, that hormones affect brain chemistry, impacting emotions and mood.

Before adolescence, girls and boys experience depression at about the same frequency. By adolescence, however, girls become more likely to experience depression than boys. Research points to several possible reasons for this imbalance. The biological and hormonal changes that occur during puberty likely contribute to the sharp increase in rates of depression among adolescent girls. In addition, research has suggested that girls are more likely than boys to continue feeling bad after experiencing difficult situations or events, suggesting they are more prone to depression.
(Sources: National Institute of Mental Health and National Women’s Health Center.)

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