Externalizing Symptoms of Depression in Men

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2016

Faculty Sponsor

Matthew Genuchi


Epidemiological research has that over the course of a lifetime women are diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) at a higher rate than men (Martin et. Al., 2013) yet men commit suicides at significantly higher rates than women (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). While the suicide rate in men is significantly influenced by men’s higher likelihood to engage in violent methods of suicide (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2012), the possibility also exists that some men at risk for suicide do not appear typically depressed. A rapidly building body of research on depression in men suggests that the diagnostic criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) may not include the full range of depressive symptoms experienced by men who adhere to hegemonic masculine gender role norms. Men who more strongly adhere to hegemonic masculine gender role norms instead appear to be more likely to present with externalizing depressive symptoms (e.g., anger and hostility) which are more consistent with hegemonic masculine gender role norms (Fields & Cochran, 2011).

Therefore, depression in men is likely underdiagnosed and undertreated because clinicians may not necessarily consider externalizing symptoms when they examine male patients (Fields & Cochran, 2011). Based on this knowledge, that some men exhibit atypical depressive symptoms a primary focus of research has shifted to how an understanding of atypical depressive symptomatology informs the highly concerning public health issue of suicide in men.

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