Sex Differences in Depressive Symptom Patterns Using the Masculine Depression Scale
One of the most reliable findings in the epidemiology of depression is that adult women are almost twice as likely to be depressed as adult men (Nolen-Hoeksema & Girgus, 1994). There are various ways researchers have attempted to explain this sex gap in prevalence rates of depression. Many psychologists (e.g., Mahalik et al., 2003) assume that gendered sociocultural symbols and socialization practices create restrictive norms defining how men should think, feel, and behave. For example, data suggest that some men have greater difficulty in identifying and communicating their affective experience when they become depressed (Addis, 2008), and men are less likely than women to seek help for depression (Cochran & Rabinowitz, 2003). Research by Nolen-Hoeksema & Girgus (1994) found women are more likely to ruminate than men in response to depressed mood. Furthermore, it is essential to study potential sex differences in the way men and women internally and externally experience depression. In this study I will examine the differences in symptoms of depression between men and women college students (n = 580) on the Masculine Depression Scale (MDS). I am currently in the process of data analysis; however, I will use independent sample t-tests to test my hypotheses. I anticipate men to score higher than women on the MDS total score. I also expect men to score higher than women on the MDS externalizing scale. I expect to see women score higher than men on the MDS internalizing scale. It is important to utilize the MDS because it may prove to be a useful tool for assessing men’s experience and manifestation of depression by capturing aspects of depression associated with masculine gender socialization that are not captured by existing measures of the DSM-IV-TR (Magovcevic & Addis, 2008).
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